Judy Johnson learns more about the electronic, Bluetooth-enabled fork that's designed to help you think before you chew
First and foremost, this is a fork, not an app. Yes, a fork. To eat with. But until now - that is, for centuries, God help us all - we've simply been mindlessly feeding ourselves, shovelling food into our mouths with not a moment's thought to the speed at which the fork is working. How very irresponsible.
But this is the 21st century, where gadgets and gizmos make sure we think before we act. Or don't have to think because said gadget does the thinking for us. This, ladies and gents, is a time when a fork should no longer just be a fork - it should be an electronic weight loss tool, too. That is where the HAPIfork comes in.
Designed by a French entrepreneur and inventor, Jacques Lepine, the HAPIfork is a fork which measures how fast you're eating and helps you to keep an eye on your pace. How, you ask? The fork records when you touch it to your mouth, and can detect how long the interval is between each serving. If you eat too quickly, HAPIfork alerts you with a gentle vibration and indicator light to remind you to slow it down. The idea is that the more you get those bad vibes, the more you'll learn to kick those bad habits and slow down the chomping... all of which will help you slim down that waistline.
Let's look at the background for this invention: stats from the NHS suggest almost half of Brits will be obese by 2030, with men leading the charge towards piling on the pounds. In our hurried and hectic lifestyles, we're now eating on the go and in more of a rush than ever before, and stats have shown that this could be causing the nation's weight gain. Satiety is felt within about 20 minutes of eating a meal, so the faster you eat, the more you'll scoff because you haven't yet reached that 'full' feeling. Not to mention the fact that the quicker you're eating, the less you're chewing - which does your digestive process no good at all and can lead to bloating. In essence, eating slowly is better for us.
We're sold on the concept, then. But of course the fork is just a tool; what you need is the online software that comes with it to really get down to the nitty gritty of your nibbles. The fork is Bluetooth enabled so it can collect the info and transmit it to your computer or mobile for later analysis or monitoring, tracking the number of fork servings taken per minute and per meal, the duration of each interval between servings, and the overall meal duration. With just one utensil you can keep an eye on your eating habits and modify your own behaviour; now that's food for thought.
Sadly, you will have to fork out (sorry) a fair few pounds before you lose them from your hips; the HAPIfork, available in blue, pink or green, has an RRP of £89.99 so it’s quite the investment. But if overindulgence and mindless munching are your downfalls, it could be well worth the splurge.
HAPIfork is available from September 2013 at www.hapilabs.com