Diet Monitors Based On Chewing Sounds

Monitoring food consumption is an important part of any diet. At present, efforts to monitor diet are primarily manual recording of food consumed in logs (paper and electronic). Since the effort involved in maintaining a diet log is considerable, compliance is poor.

A group of researchers from the Wearable Computing Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland have looked into the possibility of detecting and classifying chewing sounds as a way to directly monitor food consumption. Although it is important to note that analysis of chewing sounds provides only part of the information needed, they found that

  • Good quality chewing sound signal can be obtained from a microphone placed in the ear canal (like a hearing aid).
  • Chewing sequences can be discriminated in the flow of sound that includes speaking, chewing and silence.
  • Single chews can be successfully delineated.
  • Analysis of chewing sounds makes it possible to determine what food is eaten.

Subjects were tested while eating potato chips, apples, mixed lettuce salads, pasta and rice. Potato chips provided the highest amplitude signals, with an average of just 5.5 chews per chewing sequence. Rice had the smallest amplitude signal.

(Sample sound captures (pdf))

Read more about dietary chewing sounds (pdf). Found this story via pasta and vinegar.

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