E.Sazonov, S.Schuckers, P. Lopez-Meyer, O. Makeyev, E. Melanson, M. Neuman and J. Hill, Obesity (2009) 17 10, 1971–1975.
Understanding of eating behaviors associated with obesity requires objective and accurate monitoring of food intake patterns. Accurate methods are available for measuring total energy expenditure and its components in free living populations, but methods for measuring food intake in free-living people are far less accurate and involve self-reporting or subjective monitoring. We suggest that chews and swallows can be used for objective monitoring of ingestive behavior. This hypothesis was verified in a human study involving 20 subjects. Chews and swallows were captured during periods of quiet resting, talking and meals of varying size. The counts of chews and swallows along with other derived metrics were used to build prediction models for detection of food intake, differentiation between liquids and solids, and for estimation of the mass of ingested food. The proposed prediction models were able to detect periods of food intake with greater than 95% accuracy and a fine time resolution of 30s; differentiate solid foods from liquids with greater than 91% accuracy; predict mass of ingested food with greater than 91% accuracy for solids and 83% accuracy for liquids. In earlier publications we have shown that chews and swallows can be captured by non-invasive sensors that could be developed into a wearable device. Thus the proposed methodology could lead to the development of an innovative new way of assessing human eating behavior in free living conditions.