Will Future Parents Feed Their Kids “Ingestible” Stomach Sensors?

Folks — I have a piece that just went on up Quartz about the future of childhood. Some of the issues and items I discuss you’ve read about here already, but not this one:

By 2024, it’s possible that letting kids do anything on their own will be considered completely irresponsible, or even insane. But just knowing a child’s whereabouts won’t be enough. Parents will also know what’s going on inside their kids.

Once DNA analysis upon birth becomes routine, children’s diets and lifestyles will change, says Will Palley, trends strategist at the ad agency JWT. The genomic read-out will allow parents to identify health problems or proclivities from Day One. “Armed with that information, expect parents to customize their child’s diet from a very early age, considering very carefully what they give their child to ensure longevity,” Palley says. 

Parents may go so far as to give their kids ingestibles”— tiny, swallow-able sensors that emit signals that can be picked up by a smart phone. These already exist, but their signals are weak. Eventually, these may be strengthened and fine-tuned to measure whatever metric parents want to know about: Is their child eating too much sugar? Fat? Gluten? If so, they can adjust their kids’ meals accordingly. 

Read the whole piece here. And remember the Free-Range mantra: Kids do NOT need constant supervision. (And that includes their innards.) – L

2024: Knowing everything there is to know (about our kids).

Hmm. Your stomach acid suggests  you  ate a cookie on your way home, kid! 

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57 Responses to Will Future Parents Feed Their Kids “Ingestible” Stomach Sensors?

  1. Rick May 14, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

    If it comes to that then we are doomed. Does anyone else feel that we are living on a prison planet?

  2. anonymous this time May 14, 2014 at 11:40 pm #

    I think we’re living a moment of unfathomably wretched excess, and it shows in all of the ridiculously superfluous things we obsess on… especially with our offspring.

    What do kids need? People. Love. Care. Freedom. What do they get? Structure. Supervision. Monitoring. And protection that actually undermines their safety.

  3. CrazyCatLady May 14, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

    I foresee an epidemic of bulimia. Once the kids know they can throw up….it is all over.

  4. J.T. Wenting May 15, 2014 at 12:25 am #

    “I foresee an epidemic of bulimia. Once the kids know they can throw up….it is all over.”

    No, that’ll just trigger the next logical step, implants…
    Sensors and tracking devices surgically implanted into organs and bonded to major bones at birth, charged via EM fields in the house, office, and public buildings (this is possible, and already being piloted for cellphones here and there).
    These can of course double to not just give parents a constant stream of data about their children, but wives about their husbands, husbands about their wives, and police about citizens.

    Everyone can know instantly where everyone is, how their metabolism is running, and whatever else you want to monitor.
    Wives could demand their husbands be fitted with testosterone sensors, alerting them when hubby is “cheating” by getting ever so mildly aroused looking at the ladies…

  5. Jenny Islander May 15, 2014 at 1:23 am #

    Per the CDC’s best data, the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in American children aged 10 to 19 is 7.2 per 100,000 for the majority, higher in some minority populations.

    Meanwhile, per the NIMH, the incidence of eating disorders in 13 to 18 year olds alone is 2,700 per 100,000.

    And what’s a recognized cause of eating disorders, per the National Eating Disorders Association? Telling them that they don’t belong because they are the wrong shape and size.

    Gosh, maybe obsessing about every bite that goes into a child’s mouth is, I dunno, counterproductive.

  6. Omer Golan-Joel May 15, 2014 at 5:22 am #

    This level of monitoring should be considered CHILD ABUSE and outlawed. In general, I consider all forms of “helicopter parenting” to be child abuse. This is ageism at its worst, that is, purposefully babying children rather than considering them human beings with their own free will.

  7. Warren May 15, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    By that time we will be seeing genetically modified children, for everything from eye colour to hockey skills.

    DESIGNER BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!! They are coming.

  8. Sharon Davids May 15, 2014 at 8:19 am #

    I don’t know about the rest of you but I don’t want to always know what is in my tweens head. I usually know where she is because she is on the bus for school or I drive her to karate.

  9. MichaelF May 15, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    The problem is not technology, but how we employ it.

    This seems like overreach to me, and reminds me of the Simpsons bit where there is only one student who accepted the tracker implant, Martin.

    It’s been suggested to me to get a genomic overview of my son to see if he has any hereditary diseases and I thought about for a few minutes and realized if I give in to that I’ll give in to too many things that supposedly “help”. So right now I let him grow up the same way I did, trial and error.

  10. trishwah May 15, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    In the 60s and 70s everyone thought we’d be flying around using jetpacks by the century. I’m still waiting for mine. I wouldn’t take this so seriously.

  11. Michelle May 15, 2014 at 8:40 am #

    I came here to say exactly what trishwah said. Remember, we were supposed to have flying cars by now. And think about video phones. I remember thinking that one day, every call would be video. Now we have the technology – pretty much anyone can make a video call whenever they want – but most people hardly ever use it. Turns out that people don’t necessarily *want* to be seen every time they make a call.

    I really don’t think it’s very productive to speculate about what crazy things people might do some day in the future.

  12. Cynthia812 May 15, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    I think trishwah and Michelle are probably right but… Gattaca, anyone?

  13. Crystal May 15, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    Have these guys not seen Gattaca?!?!

  14. Dirge May 15, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Be assimilated by the Borg. Resistance is futile!

  15. delurking May 15, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    I don’t understand the problem here. If medical knowledge improves to the point that individuals can increase their lifespan by tailoring their diet to their particular biochemistry or by being on the lookout for health issues particular to their biochemistry, using cheap easy-to-use devices, why not do it?

  16. lollipoplover May 15, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    I was a huge fan of the Jetsons growing up and still don’t have a Rosie robot to make me dinner or do my laundry or a treadmill for my dog (though they are available. Ah, progress!)

    I honestly don’t see something like ingestibles ever catching on because it is too much damn work to track every morsel and most people are lazy. Cooking for *longevity* is possible now without sensors. I’m sure we could all make our own kale chips and eat vegan, free-range parsnip pressed juice every morning but it won’t stop that tractor trailer from smashing into your Prius on the way to school. Besides, Lucky Charms are magically delicious and I had a bowl this morning.

    Cookies/candy/Cheetos are not the enemy. Teaching children to make wise food choices amid the variety of foods out there is a basic part of parenting. So is the enjoyment of eating and preparing meals. All foods. Attempting to control every morsel your child eats like you’re assembling some Dolf Lundgren Superhuman is an eating disorder inflicted on a child. Normal childhood allows children to make their own food choices based on their tastes and preferences, then guiding them with proper portions and variety which include the occasional cotton candy, lollipops, and Lucky Charms.

  17. delurking May 15, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Hah, that is funny. I just read the linked article. The four devices that are “dooming childhoods around the world” are
    1. a bike brake that has not made it into production yet.
    2. a cell phone.
    3. a device being developed by masters students studying behavioral science.
    4. a device that does not exist.

    Paranoid, much?

  18. BL May 15, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    @delurking
    ” If medical knowledge improves to the point that individuals can increase their lifespan by tailoring their diet to their particular biochemistry or by being on the lookout for health issues particular to their biochemistry, using cheap easy-to-use devices, why not do it”

    Most people already eat scads of junk food that’s bad for anyone’s biochemistry. What do these devices add, except the ability for some people to control others?

  19. anonymous mom May 15, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    The problem I see with all of these devices is that they will have the opposite effect of what parents think they will have.

    I mean, cell phones presumably should have allowed us to give our kids MORE freedom, right? Now we can get in touch with them anywhere, and that should mean we feel safer letting them go places. But, it doesn’t. Thinking that we must ALWAYS be in immediate contact with our children “just in case” makes us think that the “just in case” is a likely outcome, and makes us even more paranoid and less likely to let them do things.

    Amber Alerts, you would think, would make parents feel a bit safer. Now, if their child goes missing, rather than waiting 24 hours to do anything, an immediate alert will be sent out to everybody to look for their child. But, it makes parents feel less safe, because the very existence of Amber Alerts makes them feel like there is a pressing need for them and so their child is at serious risk of abduction any time they go out.

    Steps that we take to alleviate irrational anxiety–whether it be on a personal level or a societal one–will ALWAYS end up backfiring and furthering entrenching the fear. Parents might think that if their child only had a tracking implant, they’d feel safe letting them walk to school, but that is not true; the tracking implant would just reinforce their irrational fear that something horrible was going to happen to their child on the way to school, and it still wouldn’t be enough to alleviate it. The only solution to irrational fears is to confront them and challenge them with reality, not to give in to them in the hopes that we can find the right product that will ease our minds, because that will never happen. If you truly believe that every time your child is out of your sight, they are at high risk for abduction–or that every food your child puts into their mouth poses a serious health risk–then there is no product in the world that will ease your anxiety enough to allow you to give your child freedom, and each one you buy will just reinforce the underlying irrational fear.

  20. delurking May 15, 2014 at 11:16 am #

    @BL,

    Some people don’t eat scads of junk food. It will help them.
    Also, maybe the devices will show that for a certain person, Fritos are less harmful than Doritos.

    I don’t see how these devices help some people control others.

  21. Donna May 15, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    “Now we have the technology – pretty much anyone can make a video call whenever they want – but most people hardly ever use it.”

    Ummm, most of the tweens and teens that I know communicate solely by text or Facetime. Many, particularly the younger ones, don’t have their own phones yet, so they are using their ipods and ipads to Facetime and text with their friends instead of calling them on their parents’ phones. So while it is not of common use for those of us who didn’t grow up with the technology, it is highly used by those who are.

  22. Donna May 15, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    delurking – There is no doubt in my mind that if you actually want these devices, that you absolutely will obsess about every morsel of food that goes into your mouth and your children’s mouths. It is the only reason to have them. That level of concern over food and health is completely unhealthy mentally.

  23. Warren May 15, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    delurking,

    You go ahead and try to live forever. Personally I don’t want to live that long.

    Everyone always talks about overpopulation. Part of that is because we are living a lot longer. Probably longer than we should. Nature did not intend for us to live as long as people think.
    I would rather have a good life, than a long one. Humans are the only animal that tries to keep the old and the sick alive as long as possible. I prefer quality over quantity.

  24. delurking May 15, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    Donna,
    Whether or not I want one depends on how much it costs. If they become cheap enough and I get one, I will not obsess over anything. Why would anyone?

    Look, I’m sure there are a number of different foods you enjoy. Let’s say you enjoy them now in the caloric ratio A: 15%, B: 25%, C: 20%, D: 10%, E: 30%. Now, let’s say you find out that you would be expected to live 5 years longer if you changed it to A: 15%, B: 30%, C: 25%, D: 10%, E: 20%. Would you? Would you consider doing so to be completely unhealthy mentally?

    Right now, I follow common medical advice for my age and have one alcoholic beverage per day. I really like that beverage. What if one of these devices could let me know that I’d live longer if I drank two alcoholic beverages per day? Then, I’d be both happier and healthier. Would that be obsessive and completely unhealthy mentally?

  25. delurking May 15, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    Warren,
    Actually quality years of life are far more important to me than years of life. It is well-demonstrated that healthy people have more high-quality years of life, and much shorter illnesses near the end of life, than unhealthy people so it makes sense to to try to be healthy.

  26. lollipoplover May 15, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    “Also, maybe the devices will show that for a certain person, Fritos are less harmful than Doritos.”

    If you need a device to help you with a snack chip preference, you likely have more serious problems than this blog will ever address. Plus, Doritos make your breath smell like ass so that’s an easy one.

    On parenting involving food control:
    My 7 yo daughter is on a softball team. At the beginning of the season, a mom volunteered to be team parent on the condition that absolutely no snacks be offered at the end of games. She stated that parents need to teach children healthy eating and a post-game snack interfered with her daughter’s dinner and that most parents bring junk food snacks that have poor nutritional value and lead to obesity.

    There was a backlash.
    No one really cared about the snack issue. Sometimes a bag of chips is just a bag of chips and we can teach our kids to say NO to foods offered if they interfere with meals. It was the sanctomommy rant that every food choice shapes the
    future of our kids and that enjoying a fun game and having a dad treat the girls to popsicles at the snack stand afterwards would turn them into drooling blobs.

    Well, the daughter of this mom was one of my customers when I did my volunteer shift last weekend in the snack stand. This sugar-deprived girl came up (by herself) and ordered a slurpee, a Jolly Rancher snowcone, and Skittles. She came back to see if she could exchange the Skittles for Double Bubble and how many pieces could she get? 16 big pieces of bubble gum. I rang her up with a smile and wished her luck blowing a very large bubble. When I went back to the game, the mom was ranting how someone *let* her daughter buy all this crap and no one stopped her! I laughed so hard and admitted that I rang her up as a paying customer and everyone knows that the customer is always right. I got a dirty look and don’t think we will be friends. Trying to exert power over every small decision your child faces in life will only backfire in the end. Demonizing sugar only makes it more enticing when kids are faced with free choices.

  27. Kenny Felder May 15, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    This may sound terribly out of character for me to say, but it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. I can easily imagine that it might catch all kinds of preventable conditions and problems that are not getting caught today. The key thing for me is that it’s harmless, in the sense that it does not prevent kids from having a normal healthy childhood. If they’re running around outside playing, going to the neighborhood drug store for candy, and climbing trees and jumping off the branches, then let them have their ingestibles.

  28. Gretchen May 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    Agree with Anonymous This Time about excess. And the word “parents” in this article seems to be standing in for that ridiculous subset, “affluent American parents.”

  29. Jenny Islander May 15, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    I would only accept one of these things when the nutritional science field agrees and proves that they know what healthy eating even is. Eggs are good! No, bad! No, good! Well, good if soft-boiled, but bad if hard-cooked; ask us again in a few years and we’ll have a different answer. Cook in a nonstick pan to avoid evil fat! Uh oh, the nonstick coating emits carcinogens when heated. Alcohol is evil! No, it’s good, but only the Mediterranean kinds! Uh-uh, beer is where it’s at! I know, let’s stop eating sugar forever! Steam everything! Eat five times a day–no, three–no, five again! Gorge yourself on fruits and veggies! But don’t forget your iron and protein! And your fiber! And whatever you do, don’t get really full!

    It would also be nice if there were some mechanism in place to weed out adults who get degrees in a nutritional field because they have eating disorders and seeing somebody else enjoy a food they have designated as bad makes them anxious.

  30. anonymous mom May 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    @delurking, nobody is arguing that people shouldn’t “try to be healthy” (although, realistically, many if not most health issues we will face are out of our control and will be due far more to genetics and normal aging than to life style choices).

    The issue is that believing that giving your child Fritos rather than Doritos one afternoon is going to have some kind of long-term impact or that offering chips as a snack option after a sporting event is going to shape the entire course of a child’s life is absolutely, completely delusional.

  31. delurking May 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    anonymous mom,
    you wrote “The issue is [two things]”

    Did I say or even imply either of those things? No.

    More broadly, anonymous mom, lollipoplover, Donna:

    I find it very surprising that the same people who say something like “having a snack now and then isn’t a big deal” can also say something like “using a device that will tell you something about your biochemistry means you will become obsessive”, or ” if you use a device that tells you something about your biochemistry you have big problems”, or “if you are interested in your kid’s biochemistry, you must believe that a single bag of Fritos matters to his long-term health”.

    There are thousands of consumer electronic devices out there just like there are thousands of food options. Moderate use of just about any of them is not harmful.

  32. Jenny Islander May 15, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    @Gretchen: And I’m willing to bet that if these things become affordable for “parents,” then the majority of American parents who can’t raise their kids like “parents” will be shamed and blamed for not being really caring and forward-thinking “parents.”

  33. Warren May 15, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    delurking,

    Do want you want. Me, I’ll drink my beer, my whiskey, have that steak, eat that chilli or whatever, without being constantly monitored. If I wanted to be nagged about stuff like that I would have stayed with my first wife.

    And yes I indulge when I want. But I will put my overall health and fitness up against anyone’s.

  34. Emily May 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    About the stomach sensor, I can *almost* see the reasoning behind its development. It could possibly be a useful device for treating sufferers of eating disorders; either anorexic individuals, or, on the other end of the spectrum, bariatric patients recovering from gastric bypass surgery. However, this should obviously be used only as a last resort, for patients who have repeatedly been sneaking food (or lying about eating when they haven’t), falsifying their food journals, et cetera. Ordinary kids, though? No way. That’s worst-first thinking at its very worst–you take the WORST possible approach, that should only be used as a last resort (i.e., monitoring the inside of someone’s stomach to make sure they’re eating right, because they have an eating disorder that needs to be treated), and use it FIRST (i.e., putting those sensors inside the digestive systems of ordinary, healthy kids). Also, practical question–how do those sensors even work, if they’re ingested? Wouldn’t they eventually pass? If they stay inside a person’s body forever, that’s kind of disturbing, but if they come out the other end, and the sensor-swallowing process has to be repeated every day, then that would get really expensive.

  35. Donna May 15, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    Delurking – Every single word of your comment to me shows an obssssion with food and health. It is exactly why this gadget woyld be an issue.

    But to answer your question, no I don’t want to know what exact percentage of any food might guarantee me 5 more years of life. Quality of life includes being able to enjoy it food. Not to excess, of course, but without worry that eating pasta for dinner tonight instead of chicken is shaving a year off my life.

    Also life is not guaranteed. I could eat perfect and end up getting hit by a bus or get breast cancer or get MERS or dementia, at which point my great health works against me in keeping me alive without being able to care for myself. Thete are a million causws of death that food doesn’t control. And what really is the benefit of living to 95 instead of 90? When is life enough?

  36. anonymous mom May 15, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    You could also eat perfectly and still get heart disease or cancer or diabetes or drop dead of a heart attack at 55. That’s not to say that making healthy choices isn’t wise, for both quality of life and a longer lifespan. But, whether we want to admit it or not, the mortality rate for being human is 100%. We’re all going to die of something, even if we avoid all GMOS and gluten and transfats and refined sugars, even if we maintain a BMI of 20 our entire lives, even if we do 60 minutes of aerobic exercise every day. And, we’re probably going to die of disease, which is just not something we can avoid.

    Devices like this seem to buy into our fantasy that we have total control over our bodies. We don’t. Our choices will make a difference–honestly probably more in terms of current quality of life than in terms of long-term wellness (a fried, heavy dinner will probably matter more in terms of making me feel gross tonight than taking time off my overall lifespan)–but they aren’t determinative.

    I also think it gives the wrong attitude about food, especially for kids. Our diet matters over the long term, not so much on a meal-by-meal basis. It’s not unusual for kids, by nature of how they eat, to NOT get all the nutrients they need on any given day, but if you look at their eating over a week or two week or month-long period, to see they got everything they needed. I know my pediatrician has told me that, until about 4 or 5, if kids eat a single really balanced meal in a WEEK, that’s a good thing. The rest of the time, they are taking in bits of what they need, and it will all balance out, provided they are given a variety of healthy foods.

  37. Donna May 15, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    Sorry, I typed that last comment on my smartphone in court. Should not do that. Try to ignore the many typos.

  38. Jenny Islander May 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

    @Emily: Maybe having an ingestible in place will enable people who are not lying about what they consume and how much they exercise to prove themselves against doctors who insist that they must be bad, lazy, greedy liars, because look, they’re still not socially acceptably thin.

    But based on the absolutely fractal nature of the fat panic neurosis, I doubt it. Don’t you know? People who disobediently insist on continuing to be fat must be uberhackers!

  39. Donna May 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    Nobody is saying that you shouldn’t make healthy eating choices the bulk of the time, but the big picture is where we need to focus, not minute details. You can make those big picture decisions without any special gadget to tell you your exact blood sugar level at any given time. If you are interested in the difference between living to 90 and 95, you are obsessing about death. If you care about the minuscule difference in health contribution between Fritos and Doritos, or heck, broccoli and asparagus, you are obsessed with food. If you need an internal sensor to tell you the optimal amount of alcohol for you to be able to decide whether you will have one glass of wine or two with dinner, you are obsessed with health.

    And for what? Diet has an impact on our health, but it is not even remotely determinative. It certainly doesn’t control accidents. It doesn’t even completely control any health issue. You can eat a perfect diet, and still die of cancer at 33. I’ve known many people who lived into their 90s eating basically crap.

    Life is a 100% fatal condition. You will die one day, so you might as well enjoy yourself while you are here. Not to the extreme so that you are making decisions that alter your life span and quality of life drastically, but well beyond choosing Doritos over Fritos for its “health benefit” when you really want Fritos.

  40. Michelle May 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    Donna, interesting. I live with three teenagers, and at least two preteens, depending on how you define that, and I never see any of them making video calls. None of my teen or preteen nieces and nephews, either. They all text constantly, but not video.

  41. Warren May 15, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Well according to our family doctor, a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle is just a slower way to die.

    delurking, you go ahead and stress about your health. The high blood pressure you get from the stress will counter all the good you think you are doing.

    People die everyday, it is the only guarantee in life. No matter what efforts you make or precautions you take, death will come. The ultimate in security theatre. LOL.

  42. Andy May 15, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    On video phones: While it is true that teenagers often can not do video calls, people who can do them often prefer to turn camera off. We used skype in work and I never seen anyone turning camera on. Unless you call to family, video adds nothing valuable to the whole thing (except the now new requirement that you have to watch the way you and room behind you looks during the whole call).

    On devices that does not exist yet, but could theoretically destroy childhood one day: it is too far and too theoretical to me to worry about that today. As far as technology goes, I see far more pressing issues and potentially dangerous things that these four gadgets.

    If these are going to be my problems, then all went good.

  43. Steve May 15, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    Here’s something regarding genes that most people still don’t know… and it will surprise you:

    Bruce Lipton
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re-SDlyw9l8

  44. Donna May 15, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    Michelle, may be a local thing. Or just my friends’ kids. Only the girls, though, now that I think about it. I don’t really see or hear of the boys doing it.

    I also know many adults who regularly Skype with their distant friends and family. Some of them are the parents of the aforementioned young Facetime fans so maybe it is just that they are used to video chat as a common form of communication.

    Whatever, I just don’t think it is as rare as you want to make it. It is certainly not the form of communication most adults choose for their local friends and family, but is very common for distant friends and family – more common than a phone call in my circle of friends and acquaintances. And none of them ever turn the camera off.

  45. JJ May 15, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    Donna and Michelle

    Yes the boys FaceTime! They FaceTime each other and they FaceTime the girls.

  46. delurking May 15, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    I think I see that some of you are unable to think in terms of averages.

    “If you need an internal sensor to tell you the optimal amount of alcohol for you to be able to decide whether you will have one glass of wine or two with dinner, you are obsessed with health. ”
    [snip]
    “Not to the extreme so that you are making decisions that alter your life span and quality of life drastically, but well beyond choosing Doritos over Fritos for its “health benefit” when you really want Fritos.”

    Would you at least agree that there might be a health difference between drinking one glass of wine per day for 70 years and two glasses of wine per day for 70 years? For me, if drinking one instead of two led to an expected 5-year increase in lifespan, I would drink 1. On the other hand, if becoming a vegan would lead to an expected 5-year increase in lifespan, I wouldn’t, because giving up the required foods wouldn’t be worth it. We all make tradeoffs in life.

    For some people, apparently certain types of knowledge cause anxiety so they avoid those types of knowledge. That is fine, but I don’t understand why some of you then feel the need to criticize people who acquire that knowledge, and people who make that knowledge acquisition possible. For me, knowledge does not cause anxiety.

  47. Emily May 15, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    >>@Emily: Maybe having an ingestible in place will enable people who are not lying about what they consume and how much they exercise to prove themselves against doctors who insist that they must be bad, lazy, greedy liars, because look, they’re still not socially acceptably thin.

    But based on the absolutely fractal nature of the fat panic neurosis, I doubt it. Don’t you know? People who disobediently insist on continuing to be fat must be uberhackers!<<

    @Jenny Islander–I agree. A stomach sensor used in that manner (to verify to a doctor that you're just naturally bigger, despite exercise and a healthy diet) could easily be dismissed as "Oh, you just ate salad for a week to trick the sensor. Nice try, you fat liar." That's precisely why I think that stomach sensors shouldn't be available to the general public, and they should only be used by doctors, to treat people with eating disorders, when less invasive methods have failed.

  48. Donna May 15, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    “Would you at least agree that there might be a health difference between drinking one glass of wine per day for 70 years and two glasses of wine per day for 70 years?”

    I would definitely agree that there is some point in which your daily wine drinking tips the scales noticeably to the negative as far as your health.

    May one glass vs two produce some health difference? Possibly. Regardless, I absolutely do not agree that the difference between one glass and two is worth fretting about, calculating or even noting. It is not going to increase your life markedly and may decrease the joy in whatever life you have if you really wanted two all those years. So, if you want one, have one. If you want two, have two. If you want a bottle, you may want to reconsider.

    That is kinda the point. We KNOW when we are making a measurable difference in our health without needing to know the minutia between one glass and two. Frankly, humans just aren’t all that fragile. If we were, we would have died out long before now.

    Whether this desire for knowledge about the minuscule health implications between Fritos or Doritos causes you anxiety or not, it is still an unhealthy obsession with food and health in my opinion.

  49. Jen (P.) May 15, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    Doesn’t anyone else find it difficult to encourage (even moderately) healthy eating habits in their kids without being a control freak? I have two daughters who don’t have huge appetites (in fact, one has always eaten so little I wonder how she has the energy to do anything). And there seem to be endless opportunities for them to fill up on junk food and not eat the healthy meals we prepare (or buy, because we eat out too much) for them. This is one area where I always feel like I’m struggling and failing to strike the right balance.

    A device like this might appeal to me if I thought it would get the point across to them that what they eat does matter, but I doubt that it would. And it would definitely cause me too much stress.

  50. Jenny Islander May 15, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    @Jen (P.): I suggest visiting The Feeding Doctor (dot com). She counsels parents struggling with this very issue.

  51. Warren May 15, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    delurking,

    Where are you going to get your data from, to form these conclusions? The idea of what a healthy diet is changes more often than I change socks.
    We already know what is unhealthy, and healthy. We do not need a monitor to calculate on a daily basis when we are going to die, based on our diet.
    Are you really that afraid to die? We have had this type of debate before, and you should really talk to someone about this. You are way too stressed out about your health.

  52. delurking May 15, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    “May one glass vs two produce some health difference? Possibly. Regardless, I absolutely do not agree that the difference between one glass and two is worth fretting about, calculating or even noting. It is not going to increase your life markedly and may decrease the joy in whatever life you have if you really wanted two all those years. So, if you want one, have one. If you want two, have two. If you want a bottle, you may want to reconsider.”

    Now we are getting somewhere. You think the difference between one glass and two is negligible and the difference between two and five is not. And you are sure this is true for all people regardless of their personal biochemistry. I think you have very little basis for this opinion. Furthermore, you are so confident that your opinion of the proper tradeoffs is so much better than mine that you feel free to insult me over mine.

    “We KNOW when we are making a measurable difference in our health without needing to know the minutia between one glass and two.”
    This is simply false. The difference between one glass and 2 is a factor of two, which is a substantial difference when it comes to nutrition. You admit that a bottle a day might be a problem, and that is only 2.5 times two glasses.

    “Whether this desire for knowledge about the minuscule health implications between Fritos or Doritos causes you anxiety or not, it is still an unhealthy obsession with food and health in my opinion.”

    I have this desire for knowledge about just about everything, because sometimes it leads to interesting discoveries. But, by definition, you can’t have an obsession with everything. Maybe I just like knowledge more than you.

  53. Warren May 15, 2014 at 10:38 pm #

    delurking,

    I can see it now. Your smart phone will get an update from this monitor, to tell you what your lunch has done to your life expectancy. You will be so engrossed with the readout, you will walk out into traffic a get toasted. Maybe you need a proximity sensor as well.

  54. Donna May 16, 2014 at 12:15 am #

    “The difference between one glass and 2 is a factor of two, which is a substantial difference when it comes to nutrition.”

    Possibly, but you were talking about the impact on LIFE EXPECTANCY. And our life expectancy is simply not so closely tied to perfect nutrition that there is a meaningful difference between one or two glasses of wine or the choice between Fritos or Doritos. A species that fragile would not have survived this long.

    The fallacy is in the assumption that small changes in life expectancy are actually meaningful to most individuals. They aren’t. Life is too random. Few would choose to give up a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate that they really wanted every day for 70 years for the possibility, not even the guarantee, of an extra year or two. Now an extra 10 or 20 years? The majority of us do that.

    And the choices that will make a 10 or 20 year difference on our life expectancies are not small like a glass of wine here and a cookie there. They are large, wholesale diet choices.

  55. Andy May 16, 2014 at 5:56 am #

    @delurking “The difference between one glass and 2 is a factor of two, which is a substantial difference when it comes to nutrition. You admit that a bottle a day might be a problem, and that is only 2.5 times two glasses.”

    That is some serious math abuse you did there. Factor of two may or may not be substantial difference depending on how what quantity you started with (or ended up with).

    The difference between 0.1 glass and 0.2 is a factor of two and none of them is a problem. There is not even substantial difference between them.

    The difference between 0.1 glass and full glass is a factor of 10 and none of them is still a problem. However, 10 glasses a day is a factor 10 from one glass a day and that already sounds like a problem.

    Factors should not be used that way. Math does not deserve to be abused that much.

  56. Warren May 16, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    Comes down to a simple choice……

    Live life or worry about living?

    I am going to die no matter what I do. No matter how many precautions I take, death will get me.

    And you know what I don’t want to live an extra 20 yrs. That means an extra 10 yrs of working, to afford the extra yrs of retirement. No thank you, our plan is fine just the way it is.

  57. Harrow May 16, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

    By 2074, it’s possible that tens of millions of adults will be afflicted with gastrointestinal cancer as a result of carrying powerful radio transmitters in their guts when they were children.