The Bites Debate is all Wrong: How WSJ slanted recent article on Counting Bites

“How Many Bites Do You Take a Day? Try for 100,” published today in the Wall Street Journal ignores the fact that this concept was developed almost 30 years ago by Meredith Luce MS, RD LN and Joan Breibart, President of the PhysicalMind Institute and it has been publicized in the New York Post (2004), Self Magazine (1987), Vogue, the Today Show and elsewhere.

See New York Post Coverage here.

In addition, the ‘Bite Watch’ in the article is a direct copy of our 2005 bite watch which is actually referenced in the Bite Technologies/ Clemson patent. We abandoned our prototype in favor of app technology (80Bites app) when we saw the issues: people use their phones and don’t wear watches; bite counting is just a temporary informational tool and not something to be done for months; plus there are accuracy issues with recording hand/mouth activity.

Obesity is a moving target and the copiers who don’t work daily with actual people aren’t able to see the shifts. Overeating while sitting down to three meals a day at home is not really the prevalent pattern of consumption which is why vibrating forks or talking plates aren’t so helpful. For the majority, particularly people under 40, the pattern is grazing on ‘healthy’ well-marketed foods in public and then binging privately or drinking too many calorically dense beverages. With a U.S. population that is over 55% obese, these new bite products will just be more failed solutions leading Americans to just give up.

Meredith Luce MS RD LN is a bariatric dietician who uses 80Bites with actual patients including the morbidly obese. Even though in the past decades, we tried to make our program focus on both quantity and calories, the reality is that they are not really compatible. Bites address volume and stomach size which directly affect hormones. Overeating drives up leptin so much that eventually a resistance develops so that the threshold increases. Thus it takes more and more eating (thus more leptin) to finally get the “stop eating” message. This is why leptin resistance should be the focus of weight loss efforts and why almost everyone in America is hungry all the time.

Since the information in the article is misleading and inaccurate, we and your readership would appreciate a correction indicating who are the true authors of the ‘bites’ concept.

Joan Breibart and Meredith Luce RD MS LN

Water Water Every Where But Not A Drop To Drink

Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 12.05.30 PM

Today we have a population who believes that everyone should drink 64 ounces of water daily. Five decades ago, we used to agree with humorist W.C. Fields’ who when asked if he drank water replied, “Hell No. Fish pee in water.” Today, we live in fear of dehydration while we should worry about the opposite — Hyponatremia: water intoxication.

How did we get to this stage where we worry about drought but think nothing of wasting water? It began in in 1945 when the U.S. Government issued a dietary directive, which said that everyone should drink 64 ounces of water daily. This number was apparently the result of a requirement that we drink 1 milliliter per calorie consumed daily (about 2500 calories a day!) We know that this is at least 600 more calories than what most women should consume if they don’t want to size up. So this directive went forth but omitting a crucial line: that all fluids count — obviously tea and coffee are 99% water—but also fruits, vegetables are mostly water. Even steak has water! So the line omitted should have said total fluids and that these were easily contained in any balanced diet.


So why you ask did this water nonsense take hold? Why did the American public decide to pay for trillions of plastic bottles of water considering that water in the USA is free, easily available and safe? The answer is d-i-e-t-i-n-g became big business — $65 billion at the latest count — and diet gurus figured that everyone needed something to put in their mouths that had no calories and was “healthy.” Even better, spring or purchased water was thought to be purer so it was purifying and holy as in holy water. Now 50 years after dieting started with the founding of Weight Watchers, we face water shortages; plastic bottles will be with us forever, and we are fatter than anyone thought possible. Plus the malady du jour is water intoxication whose symptoms: loss of energy, fatigue, restlessness and irritability may make one think they need to drink more bottled water and eat yet another “healthy” snack for refueling. However, what we really need is a BIG dose of common sense.




Wellness Industry Thrives while 55% of Adult Americans are Obese


Wellness Industry Thrives
Majority of Americans are Obese

For Immediate Release



New York, N.Y. – June 3 2014- On the heels of the wake-up call from ‘FED UP’, the just released documentary on obesity, it is no surprise that the CDC’s (U.S. Center for Disease Control) obesity statistics are grossly under reported.  Meredith Luce RD, MS, LDN and Joan Breibart, two veteran diet and exercise professionals, have converted the data with the Hamwi Method used by dieticians: Adult America  is 55% obese, not  35% (LINK to  pages with all the data and other charts)

Worse, even the higher estimate may be too low:  self-reported obesity data has a minimum  21% error rate:  ( With this adjustment the CDC number jumps  to 43% and  55% sizes up to a whopping 66%. And it’s easy to verify the stats now that it’s summer and people are out and uncovered.  Fifty percent of the  bodies will be without waists or  looking  like they are in the third trimester. No other conclusion is possible when the CDC’s website has an average American woman at 5’4” and  163 pounds and her male counterpart at  5’9” and 196 pounds.

America has morphed from normal sized to obese in just 50 years. And business is booming: today we have thousands of diet companies and a global Wellness Industry that we created growing at 12% annually with a Trillion in sales,” says Joan Breibart.

How did we  get so big in sales and size? Numerous nutrient manipulations and each  builds business: sales of gluten free foods are estimated to  reach  $16 billion  by 2016. “Eating healthy”  changes constantly:   butter; coffee; alcohol; fat; sugar; salt meat have all been  demonized and  then  resurrected,  causing millions to change their diets and experiment with their bodies.   Pseudo-science solutions make for  huge  sales growth while  simple, free, common sense and obvious strategies fail to  gain the media’s attention.

Food companies are happy to accommodate the latest food war as long as the public buys huge  quantities– perpetuating  the limitless American stomach. We know that the simple, commonsense solution: eat and drink less can succeed even after decades of dieting failures. The  public message should be reduce  food consumption as the first goal –even before caloric reduction—because digesting less food     lowers  insulin production, an accepted contributor  to excess body fat.  “Keep in mind, it is the repeated stretching and over-stretching of the stomach which unbalances our ghrelin/leptin hunger regulating hormones leading us to eat too much, too often,” says Meredith Luce, MS, RD, LDN.

‘Fed Up’ tries to rally support so the food industry  immediately removes  sugar from   thousands of products and our government   taxes sugared beverages. What can American consumers do?  Pressure these corporations with the best weapon—our purchasing power. Our national mantra should be, “Close the Mouth Sooner & Open it Less Often.” Bite by bite we can  beat back obesity. And for the kids, give them what they enjoy: a rap and a cartoon character: After all, kids are not just short adults.

The Don’t-Diet Way To Lose Weight

80Bites premiered in Self Magazine 1987 (Photo shown below)
by Joan Breibart

One of Sir Winston Churchill’s wittiest pronouncements,” You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they have tried everything else,” was very relevant to three articles recently published. Allure magazine’s September cover story is “The No-Diet Diet – Eat Less, Feel Full”. It is 26 years since Self Magazine published our diet which obviously was ahead of its time. Additionally, the Allure magazine article even talks about the stomach – the focus of 80bites. This should be news to readers who only know the stomach from cues such as “tighten your stomach!” Will they be surprised that the actual stomach should be a six-inch sausage-shaped organ located under the left breast? Next were two articles from New York Times columnists: fitness writer Gretchen Reynolds’s “How Exercise Can Help Us Eat Less,” followed by famed columnist Frank Bruni’s, “Hard Truth About Our Soft Bodies.” The latter talks about a “macro approach to the obesity issue rather than a micro.” Translation: stop obsessing about eating kale or “burning” calories with crazy exercise “CrossFit’s Dirty Llittle Secret.” The macro approach could be summed up as: close your mouth sooner and open it less often. Could this signal a trend? Could this be a shift in the weight loss mantra of “eat healthy and exercise more” which has not worked. Approximately 95% of people who lose weight regain it, and some regain even more “The Fat Trap.”
Now when it is obvious that obesity is everywhere, we find that all those failed strategies have also affected our brains! “The Mental Strain of Making Do With Less.”

But will the media establishment take on the issue and try to correct the oversimplifications that have fueled this epidemic? This is the right time to examine our dieting culture. Weight Watches has just celebrated its 50th anniversary! Jenny Craig and NutriSystems have been selling diets for decades. The big three have enjoyed sales of more than three billion dollars annually — until this year. Now diet sales are down more than 25%. This no-diet phenomenon happened before—in the early 90s — just when the Pilates Method was trying to explain the benefits of balanced exercise as opposed to a focus on calories.

So what can we do? We can start with the BMI—Body Mass Index — which was never intended as a measure of ideal weight. Today everyone has heard about the BMI. Using this measure a 5’6” woman could weigh 185 pounds and NOT be obese. However, if people knew about the HAMWI Formula, they would see the weight of the issue!! As if to underline this distortion a recent video arrived “Roll Over? Fat Chance.” Interesting that dog owners are concerned about their pet’s pounds, but not their own.

Want to Lose Weight, but tired of all those Diet Failures?

Option 1: The Diet Way

1.  Choose a popular diet (Jenny Craig, Nutri-Systems, South Beach, Weight Watchers, etc.) Or a “lifestyle” program (Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw foods, juicing.) Either way, you dive in happy to have found a “solution” and begin to follow the program religiously.
2.  Lose weight quickly and get excited.
3.  Feel encouraged that you’re losing and decide you can bend the rules just a bit… Mostly because at this point, you’re dying for a cheeseburguer or a cupcake or a Mojito.
4.  Begin to regain because that’s what 95% of peole do. Worse, you may regain more than you’ve lost… (One step forward, two steps back.)
5.  Get back on the diet and swear you’ll stay on it this time until the day you die… Because that is the only way! 

Option 2: The 80Bites Way

1.  Begin counting bites to see where your mouth and stomach stand, and know you’re eating way more than 80 bites per day… (Unless you’re drinking those calories.)
2.  Begin gradually reducing down and taking time chewing each bite.
3.  Develop a “sixth sense” for quantity awareness… You notice that your restaurant plate is easily 45 bites.
4.  You reduce the frequency of eating events. You quit grazing so your body can detox naturally.
5.  You realize that you are less hungry. Your stomach had begun to shrink to its natural (smaller) size.
6.  You pace yourself so that you don’t lose more than 2lbs. a month giving your digestive hormones time to adapt. YOU can beat the regain odds!
7.  You begin to feel uncomfortable when you overeat; your body is now working for you. There is no “diet” to follow, so you simply continue eating what you wish but always knowing that less is more.