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Tired of Stress Eating? There’s A Bra For That.

Tired of Stress Eating? There’s A Bra For That.

Well, I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or be extremely offended. Microsoft recently set aside its operating systems and game consoles to bring us (wait for it) a high-tech bra designed to stop women from overeating.

The bra includes sensor pads and a microprocessor powered by a 3.7-volt battery. These sensors allow the bra to monitor heart rate and respiration with an EKG sensor, skin conductance with an electrodermal activity sensor, and movement with an accelerometer and gyroscope. When combined with data about current mood input into a smartphone app by the wearer, the bra is able to predict whether or not they’re eating because of stress. If the answer is yes, the bra sends a text alert admonishing the wearer to think twice before polishing off that pint of ice cream.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this delightful technology, it’s important to note that stress eating is a big problem, especially here in the U.S. According to a 2008 Stress in America Survey published by the American Psychological Association [PDF], the number of adults who turn to food to reduce stress is nearly equal to those who turn to smoking, alcohol, shopping and gambling combined!

So yes, stress eating is an emotional problem that can have negative physical results. But c’mon, an anti-eating bra??

First of all, why just a bra? That APA statistic clearly says ADULTS, not WOMEN. Men are just as likely to have emotional ties to food  as women, but you don’t see Microsoft debuting the “Diet Jockstrap”.

“It’s mostly women who are emotional overeaters, and it turns out that a bra is perfect for measuring EKG (electrocardiogram),” Mary Czerwinski, a cognitive psychologist and senior researcher in visualization and interaction at Microsoft, told Discovery News.

Fair enough, and in Microsoft’s defense, they DID toy with the idea of sensory underwear, but it was too far away from the heart to gather accurate data so they excluded men from the study.

Still, I can’t help but notice that this research falls nicely in line with the entire double standard that exists around weight, gender, and beauty in our society: Men can eat whatever they want and if they gain a few pounds, it’s the subject of jokes. If a woman asks for seconds, it’s cause for raised eyebrows, and gaining a few pounds is cause for shock and horror.

And, as ThinkProgress notes, “stress-inducing eating may not actually be a huge public health problem in the first place. Gudrun Sproesser, a German researcher who recently published a paper on the subject, told Discovery News that emotionally-driven eating isn’t necessarily a negative thing, depending on individuals’ eating patterns during less stressful times. ‘Stress eaters should not be considered at risk to gain weight by default,’ Sproesser explained in a press release about her research. ‘Our results suggest the need for a dynamic view of food intake across multiple situations, positive and negative.’”

Read more: Beauty, Body Image, Health, Mental Wellness, Technology, Women's Health, , , , , , , ,

Image via Thinkstock

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Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog or check out her blog.

87 comments

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6:32PM PST on Jan 14, 2014

I think, if you're serious about curbing negative eating habits, it's gonna have to be self-driven. I mean...will you just wear the same bra forever? What about washing?
And what's the male alternative? A speedo? (I certainly hope they don't make a man-bra...!!)

8:59PM PST on Jan 10, 2014

No thanks, so true Barbara D.

4:20PM PST on Dec 17, 2013

No batteries on my boobies!!

Anyway, there IS something called will-power....................

3:28AM PST on Dec 16, 2013

I do not wear a bra anyway and certainly would not wear this one

7:29PM PST on Dec 13, 2013

A fat guy should wear the bra they have breast too!

8:19PM PST on Dec 11, 2013

really?
another "prop" that is not going to even touch the underlying problem of why people are overeating to begin with.
:(

11:07AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

Sounds stupid and like a good waste of money.

11:00AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

whatever. maybe microsoft should use technology to bring more food where it's needed in areas people cant travel to. instead of such idiotic experiments that take millions of dollars such as this.

10:58AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

thanks

10:03AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

Oh brother!

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