dimanche 20 janvier 2013

The Electronic Fork : Is French food habit loosing its weight ?

The CES Show always keeps its promises of new innovations and brings near futur electronic and computer consuming trends.

The CES 2013 has help enlight an innovation that is far from being one in terms of its impact on public health it is supposed to address. However, I was sad to learn that it was a french team that commited this major “sacrilège” of bringing a questionable electronic device in the sanctuary that represents the meal time.

Relying on clinical and scientific studies which have shown that it takes at least 20 min for the brain to register the meal intake has occured, the engineers of HAPIFORK have come up with the idea that a technological tool would make it, regardless of what’s inside the plate or where this meal would take place. Indeed, I foresee through this “supposetobe” innovation, the two different visions of food place in our life. Choose yours …

In fact, this gadget is ignoring many dimensions from the sociological to the nutritional perspective going through the economical prism that make a successful strategy to weight control and better food habits outcomes.
Déjeuner des Canotiers - A. RENOIR
“Déjeuner des Canotiers” - 1880-1881 ; Auguste Renoir (French painter, 1841-1919)

First, as the inventors are french, they can’t ignore that food education should be done as early as possible. Much effort has been put at school in France especially at the K-6 levels to help children, that do not received good food habits, develop their food taste, and learn how to eat with helping dedicated staff in the cafeteria. This approach associated to public health campaigns may highly account for the youth obesity curve reduction while it is still going up in numerous other countries including USA. I leave it to your judgment how this fork will correct by itself years of bad food habits.
Fighting Fork

Second, Imagine yourself bringing your fork when invited for a diner out with friends or going to Sunday’s Aunt Lunch. I believe you also already pictured someone going to a Fast Food where he has given himself less than 20 minutes for the embarrassing chore, order a cheeseburger and looking at his fork to see how it would help … Of course, the consumer that has a hundred bucks to spend on that product is certainly not the one that is making the “Burgerdollars” of the Yellow Clown.

Third and last, in these nowadays overconsumption of technology and invading Quantified Self practices, it would be beneficial to leave it out of the table to make the meal time as a resting and free moment. Appreciating the meal and making it a moment of pleasure is a key factor in weight control and good digestion. Having a stressful time anticipating the moment your fork will vibrate, is exactly the contrary of what you would expect.

In conclusion, expecting however some positive results on digestion for people eating too fast, although much less expensive strategies are known, it is globally the place of the meal time in our rushing lives that is a challenge. Preserving this time, when many part of our lives have became stressful moments, is an essential approach to weight control. France and many other countries where food habits have been recognized as participating to a better health should be regarded as models and in that domain I would better rely on our Chefs than engineers other you would end up in “biting bytes” instead of tasty foods …

Bon appétit … !
Dr. Adam M. SELAMNIA (Ph. D. Physiology of Human Nutrition; MBA).