New device tracks every bite, tells when to stop eating

Eating too much? The Bite Counter tallies up every bite and alerts you when you've gone too far

Researchers from Clemson University in South Carolina in the US have created a watch-like device that calculates every bite you take while tallying up the calories.

Announced August 2, the Bite Counter tracks a pattern of wrist-roll motions to identify when the wearer has taken a bite of food. "Think of it as a pedometer for eating," states the release.

Calories are calculated from bite count based on a formula similar to that found in exercise equipment estimating calories burned. The designers claim the readings are 90 percent acccurate.

While you're eating, you can check the device for a real-time bite count, or tally up your daily total, and set a count-based alarm to let you know when it's time to put the fork down. After your meal, you can download the data log to your computer via the device's USB for long-term analysis.

Downsides are that you'll have to turn the Bite Counter on and off before and after eating, and the battery life lasts 14 hours per charge.

So far the device is garnering buzz but mixed reviews in some gagdet blogs, mostly due to its clunky design and high cost of nearly $800.

"And as much as we applaud simple innovative medical devices like this, we doubt any self-conscious person will walk around with a $799 device around his wrist that makes a digital wristwatch from the eighties look modern and slim," writes MedGadget.

However according to Clemson University, the device could be redesigned and sold at a more consumer-friendly price point in the future.

A simpler, less expensive gadget designed to get you slim are Measure Up bowls and plates, which are basic bowls and plates used for portion control. The bowls, for example, come in two sizes -- one with one-half cup (75 grams) increments and the other with 1/4 cup (35 grams) increments for higher calorie foods. Cost: $19.99.