Have you ever been told to eat your food slowly? Parents often encourage their children to eat at a moderate rate and chew their food completely. It turns out that this is good advice. Recent research, conducted by three independent groups, suggests that eating slowly actually reduces caloric intake and may help curb the growing problem of obesity.
Fast Eaters Eat More
In 2008, Andrade published a study in the Journal of American Dietetic Association, which shed light on the question of eating quickly. According to Andrade`s research, the rate at which a person eats affects how many calories he ingests.
Two test groups were used in the study. Each group was given a large portion of food and told to eat as much as wanted. However, one group got to use a big spoon and was advised to eat quickly. The other group, however, used a small spoon and was told to eat slowly, taking the time to chew each bite twenty or so times. The result was clear: the slow eating group consumed fewer calories than the fast eating group. Interestingly, Andrade`s research also revealed an interesting fact. It turned out that the slow eaters reported feeling more full after the meal, while the fast eaters reported feeling less full.
Fast Eaters and Obesity
In another study published in the 2008 British Medical Journal by Maruyama et al., it was found that there is a significant link between eating speed and obesity. It turns out that fast eaters are significantly more likely to be overweight or obese. Additionally, those who continue eating until they feel full are also more likely to be overweight. Eating quickly until feeling full is likely the most potent combination for gaining weight.
Fast Eating and Hormones
Perhaps the most intriguing research is this year`s study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism by Kokkinos et al. This research gives us a better understanding of the underlying physiological effect of eating speed. According to research findings, eating speed affects certain hormone levels in our body, which in turn interact with the hypothalamus to create the feeling of hunger or fullness. The hormones PYY, GLP-1, and Ghrelin all play a role. Kokkinos found that levels of both PYY and GLP-1 are significantly higher in the body when a person eats slowly. These two hormones cause a person to feel full. It was found that Ghrelin levels were higher two hours after eating for those who ate quickly. Ghrelin causes the feeling of hunger. This research supports the previous studies. It seems hormone levels are responsible for the fullness slow eaters feel and the hunger fast eaters feel. What`s interesting is that fast eaters feel both less full after eating more food and hungrier just a couple hours after eating than do slow eaters.
Eating Speed and Dieting
These studies can prove useful resources for those trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Do you eat quickly? Do you eat until you feel full? If you answered yes to either of these questions, chances are you are overweight. Of course, if you can change your eating habits and begin to eat more slowly, chewing your food 20-30 times before swallowing, then you will likely begin to eat fewer calories. More importantly, you will actually feel full after your meal, and you will go longer before feeling the need to eat again. It could be that modifying eating speed is the best dieting tip anyone could give. So take a hint from these studies and start eating slowly!