Effects of eating with an augmented fork with vibrotactile feedback on eating rate and body weight: a randomized controlled trial

Sander Hermsen, Monica Mars, Suzanne Higgs, Jeana H. Frost, Roel C. J. Hermans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Eating rate is a basic determinant of appetite regulation: people who eat more slowly feel sated earlier and eat less. A high eating rate contributes to overeating and potentially to weight gain. Previous studies showed that an augmented fork that delivers real-time feedback on eating rate is a potentially effective intervention to decrease eating rate in naturalistic settings. This study assessed the impact of using the augmented fork during a 15-week period on eating rate and body weight. Methods In a parallel randomized controlled trial, 141 participants with overweight (age: 49.2 +/- 12.3 y; BMI: 31.5 +/- 4.48 kg/m2) were randomized to intervention groups (VFC, n = 51 or VFC+, n = 44) or control group (NFC, n = 46). First, we measured bite rate and success ratio on five consecutive days with the augmented fork without feedback (T1). The intervention groups (VFC, VFC+) then used the same fork, but now received vibrotactile feedback when they ate more than one bite per 10 s. Participants in VFC+ had additional access to a web portal with visual feedback. In the control group (NFC), participants ate with the fork without either feedback. The intervention period lasted four weeks, followed by a week of measurements only (T2) and another measurement week after eight weeks (T3). Body weight was assessed at T1, T2, and T3. Results Participants in VFC and VFC+ had a lower bite rate (p <.01) and higher success ratio (p <.0001) than those in NFC at T2. This effect persisted at T3. In both intervention groups participants lost more weight than those in the control group at T2 (p <.02), with no rebound at T3. Conclusions The findings of this study indicate that an augmented fork with vibrotactile feedback is a viable tool to reduce eating rate in naturalistic settings. Further investigation may confirm that the augmented fork could support long-term weight loss strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number90
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2019


  • Eating rate
  • Weight loss
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Feedback
  • Sensory
  • TIME

Cite this