Eating rate is a basic determinant of appetite regulation, as people who eat more slowly feel sated earlier and eat less. Without assistance, eating rate is difficult to modify due to its automatic nature. In the current study, published in Appetite, participants used an augmented fork that aimed to decelerate their rate of eating. A total of 114 participants were randomly assigned to the Feedback Condition (FC), in which they received vibrotactile feedback from their fork when eating too fast (i.e., taking more than one bite per 10 s), or a Non-Feedback Condition (NFC). Participants in the FC took fewer bites per minute than did those in the NFC. Participants in the FC also had a higher success ratio, indicating that they had significantly more bites outside the designated time interval of 10 s than did participants in the NFC. A slower eating rate, however, did not lead to a significant reduction in the amount of food consumed or level of satiation. These findings indicate that real-time vibrotactile feedback delivered through an augmented fork is capable of reducing eating rate, but there is no evidence from this study that this reduction in eating rate is translated into an increase in satiation or reduction in food consumption. Overall, this study shows that real-time vibrotactile feedback may be a viable tool in interventions that aim to reduce eating rate. The long-term effectiveness of this form of feedback on satiation and food consumption, however, awaits further investigation.
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