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Weight loss gadgets help you shed pounds: High protein diet best, says RD

Beef up on protein for weight loss.
Beef up on protein for weight loss.
Photo by Jason Oxenham/Getty Images

Take a bite out of this: New studies have shown that by taking more bites per day, you can win at weight loss without changing your diet. Now a group of researchers are using that knowledge to create devices to monitor your eating, reported the Wall Street Journal on August 11.

To lose weight, 100 bites is the optimal number, according to the study. The Bite Monitor is designed to help you track those bites. The researchers at South Carolina's Clemson University who created it anticipate having a commercial product ready in a year.

Eating more slowly also helps with weight loss. A vibrating utensil called the HAPIfork signals you in red if you eat too quickly. And an upcoming product that measures how quickly you eat provides you with a plate that talks to you when you eat too fast.

"If you're eating too fast, you're probably not chewing and enjoying your food very well and you're probably going to be more likely" to eat too much, said Michael Jensen, an endocrinologist and obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Studies show that it takes time for your brain to get the signal that you've had enough food.

Wearable technology appears to be the latest wave in weight loss. A product called the Bite Counter detects the roll of your wrist to track when you are taking in more food, reported Yahoo Health on August 11.

"It’s very easy to overeat in our current eating environment," said Eric Muth, a Clemson University psychology professor. The combination of processed food and fast food drive-ins make it all too easy for us to eat mindlessly while we're watching TV, driving and working.

But is the key to weight loss really through investing in yet another gadget? Or does it take more attention to what's on that plate rather than counting bites?

Registered dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot, author of the "Miracle Carb Diet," believes that the right diet is essential for successful weight loss. In an exclusive interview, Tanya explained why she recommends a high fiber, high protein diet but disagrees with diet plans that eliminate grains and dairy.

"Diets like Paleo, low carb, and ketogenic cut out essential food groups, such as carbohydrates and dairy. The problem is, eliminating these foods deprives the body of nutrients we need and by taking away foods we enjoy, a diet is not sustainable for very long," she said.

Moreover, she does not agree with the ketogenic concept of using fat for fuel. "Banning all grains affects glucose, which our bodies rely on for fuel. Without energy we are tired, cranky, and less able to focus," she said.

Tanya recommends eating whole grains. Without them, "we are depriving our bodies of essential nutrients such as iron, folic acid, and B vitamins," she added.

For those who want to lose weight, Tanya advises consuming dairy with attention to the calorie content. "Cutting out dairy puts you at risk for calcium deficiency. Dairy is loaded with protein, and dieters can avoid unnecessary calories by choosing low-fat or non-fat dairy products," she said.

As far as the best diet for weight loss and health, Tanya recommends a diet that contains protein and fiber at each meal. "Fiber has zero calories, and protein has only four calories per gram, so foods rich in these nutrients are naturally lower in calories," she explained.

Because these foods are filling, dieters feel satisfied with less food. This type of high fiber, high protein diet reduces "caloric intake in a sustainable way. Protein is necessary for building and maintaining healthy muscle tissue, our body’s calorie-burning machine," she said.

Tanya notes that high fiber fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants. They "help fight premature aging by protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. Also, fiber is nature’s detoxifier, acting like a sponge in the digestive system, binding to toxins that can build up and enable impurities that age the skin."