Discover the Health Advantages for Digestion and Weight Reduction.
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Slow Down, You're Eating Too Fast
by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
Have you ever noticed how long it takes most thin people to eat their meals? My sister was always the last one to finish her meal, and it drove the rest of the family crazy. We were sure it was her ploy to get out of clearing the table or doing the dishes! It was not until years later that I realized her slow eating is the secret to her slim figure.
Most Westerners eat too fast, and, as a result, they take in too many calories before they realize they've eaten enough. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Leisurely eating allows ample time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full. And feeling full translates into eating less.
Recent research presented at a meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity showed that overweight men and women took in fewer calories when they slowed their normal eating pace. And a recent Japanese study involving 1,700 young women concluded that eating more slowly resulted in feeling full sooner, and thus eating fewer calories at mealtime.
The Pleasure Principle
Not only does eating slowly and mindfully help you eat less, it enhances the pleasure of the dining experience. To master the art of slow eating, put on some music, light a few candles, turn off the TV and any other distractions, and concentrate on your meal.
Why Eating Slowly May Help You Feel Full Faster
by Ann MacDonald
Scientists have known for some time that a full stomach is only part of what causes someone to feel satisfied after a meal; the brain must also receive a series of signals from digestive hormones secreted by the gastrointestinal tract.
Stretch receptors in the stomach are activated as it fills with food or water; these signal the brain directly through the vagus nerve that connects gut and brainstem. Hormonal signals are released as partially digested food enters the small intestine.
One example is cholecystokinin (CCK), released by the intestines in response to food consumed during a meal. Another hormone, leptin, produced by fat cells, is an adiposity signal that communicates with the brain about long-range needs and satiety, based on the body’s energy stores. Research suggests that leptin amplifies the CCK signals, to enhance the feeling of fullness.
Other research suggests that leptin also interacts with the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain to produce a feeling of pleasure after eating. The theory is that, by eating too quickly, people may not give this intricate hormonal cross-talk system enough time to work.
Of course, as anyone who has tried eating slowly in order to lose weight can attest, it’s not quite that simple. People who are obese, for example, may suffer from leptin resistance, meaning that they are less responsive to satiety or pleasure signals from this hormone.
People are also sensitive to cues in the environment — such as the alluring smell of chocolate chip cookies or the sight of a juicy burger — that can trigger the desire to eat.
Appetite is complex, and dieting is a challenge. Even so, people who are trying to lose weight may want to start by chewing more slowly. In that way, they allow themselves enough time to experience pleasure and satiety.
Does Eating Slowly Help You Lose Weight?
by Franziska Spritzler
Many people eat their food quickly and carelessly.
This may lead to weight gain and other health issues.
Eating slowly may be a much smarter approach, as it could provide a number of benefits.
This article explores the benefits of eating slowly.
Eating too fast can cause weight gain
People who eat quickly tend to weigh more than those who don’t.
In fact, fast eaters are up to 115% more likely than slower eaters to be obese.
They also tend to gain weight over time, which may be partially due to eating too fast.
In one study in over 4,000 middle-aged adults, those who said they ate very fast tended to be heavier and had gained the most body weight since age 20.
Another study examined weight change in 529 men over 8 years. Those who reported being fast eaters gained more than twice as much weight as self-described slow or medium-paced eaters.
Eating slowly helps you eat less
Your appetite and calorie intake is largely controlled by hormones.
After a meal, your gut suppresses a hormone called ghrelin, which controls hunger, while also releasing fullness hormones.
These hormones tell your brain that you have eaten, reducing appetite, making you feel full, and helping you stop eating.
This process takes about 20 minutes, so slowing down gives your brain the time it needs to receive these signals.
Eating slowly can increase fullness hormones
Eating too quickly often leads to overeating, as your brain doesn’t have enough time to receive fullness signals.
Additionally, eating slowly has been shown to decrease the amount of food consumed during the meal due to an increase in fullness hormones.
Why Chewing Food and Eating Slowly Improves Your Health
by Mogren Dental Clinic
Benefits of Slowly Chewing and Eating
What happens when you slow down and chew vs. hurrying up and gulping it down? Plenty of healthy, good things!
Meals are More Enjoyable
It seems like a small thing, but being satisfied with your meal is in fact a big deal. Eating slowly and chewing food allows you to actually taste what you’re consuming and enjoy the flavors, which makes it a pleasant experience.
You Make Better Food Choices
Now that you can actually experience and taste your meal, you’re more likely to choose foods more wisely.
It’s Easier to Maintain a Healthy Weight
When you eat quickly, it’s hard for your body to recognize that it’s full — your brain can’t keep up and fools you into believing you’re still hungry. When you slow down and chew, on the other hand, your brain lets you know to stop eating sooner so you don’t overindulge. You’re also more satisfied when you finish, making you less likely to snack between meals.
You Improve Your Digestion
Scarfing down your meal in a matter of minutes can often lead to indigestion, and that’s obviously no fun! Chewing your food longer breaks it down more which helps your stomach digest it. In addition, when you eat slowly, you give your brain a heads up to signal your stomach to let the digestion begin. So, not only is your appetite satisfied but so is your sense of multi-tasking and efficiency!
All the Reasons Eating More Slowly Is So Good for You
by Lauren Smith MA
If your lunch disappears within five minutes (whether you’re trying to hustle back to your work or you simply can’t resist bite after bite of that burrito bowl), you may want to curb your speed-eating habits.
A 2011 study on the relationship between eating speed and weight found that those in a fast-eating group put on more pounds, on average, than medium and slow eaters over an eight-year period.
The reason for this correlation is fairly simple: It takes the brain about 20 minutes to get the signal from the gut that you’re full. If you eat the entire plate of pasta within five minutes, you’ve likely eaten more than necessary because your brain didn’t register satiety—yet.
Slowing down your bites could make have a wide-ranging impact on your health. Here are all the ways eating more slowly (taking smaller bites, chewing more, chatting with friends between forkfuls) could improve your physical and mental health.
Eating slowly can help manage weight. In addition to preventing unwanted weight gain, taking your time at meals can help curb overeating in people who already want to lose weight, according to a 2014 study.
Eating slowly may help steady your blood sugar. A burst of food all at once can put stress on the body’s production of insulin. If five-minute dinners are your norm, you could develop a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream due to insulin resistance, a prerequisite for type 2 diabetes. (Learn more information about insulin resistance here.)
Eating slowly may reduce blood pressure. Extra weight puts strain on the heart and blood vessels. Even losing as few as five to 10 pounds can help lower BP for those with a body mass index of 25 or higher, according the American Heart Association. Find more information about how weight affects heart health here.
Eating slowly may affect your risk of chronic diseases. A 2008 study tracked 1,083 adults over five years and found that 11.6 percent of fast eaters, as opposed to only 2.3 percent of slow eaters, developed symptoms of metabolic syndrome (a risk factor for both type 2 diabetes and heart disease).
Eating slowly can help you find more pleasure from food. Mindful eating, or taking the time to savor the tastes, textures, and aromas from your favorite noms, may reduce overeating by helping you feel satisfied from each bite. In fact, some psychologists use mindfulness-based therapy to treat binge eating disorder and related issues.
A slower meal may improve your mental health. A mindful meal can give you a break from the rest of your busy workday and help you reset. Even better? Share your lunch break with coworkers or sit down with the family for dinner. Setting down your fork between bites and chatting can help you feel connected to others, an important component to emotional well-being.