Do you gobble down a lot of food and feel hungry soon after that? Surprisingly, even though you have consumed much more calories than you require, you are not satisfied because you ate really fast. Eating fast will certainly save you some time but what about its effect on your well being?
Some studies suggest that the speed with which you eat doesn’t affect your weight if you have a staggered meal consumption.1 Results from other studies showed that eating fast and eating until full, tripled the risk of becoming overweight.2 In addition to watching what you eat, keep a check on how fast or slow you are eating.
You Shouldn’t Eat Fast
Eating fast is associated with weight gain. When you goggle food like a zombie, you’re not giving your brain enough time to process the quantity you have eaten and tell you when to stop. You will naturally end up eating much more than your body requires. It takes the body a full 20 minutes to register satiety so if you clean up your plate in 10 minutes, your brain is still catching up with your belly’s status.
While some fast eaters may not gain weight, they are at the risk of indigestion and acid reflux.3 Fast eating often means you are not giving your teeth time to chew and break down the food, leaving your poor digestive system with a lot to do. So along with the problem of excess food, digestion also suffers.
To Eat Slowly
For most of us, eating fast is not a natural thing but with added distractions and the lower priority that we give our meal times, eating is relegated to a daily chore. To know what you are eating and how yummy it tastes, you need to be focused on the food. Here are 3 reasons why eating slowly is good for your health.
1. Increased Satiety
While you savor the food by eating slowly, you also give your body time to realize that you are full. This way, you are not loading yourself with calories. To maintain a healthy weight, not only is it important to eat the right food but also keep in mind how much you are eating.
Also, eating slowly rules out the chances of cravings between meals as you stay full for longer, thereby preventing weight gain.4 It also reduces the amount of food you eat and is a great way to control your appetite.5
Eating slowly supports the digestion process. Unlike fast eaters, slow eaters tend to chew their food well. When the food is broken down into smaller bites, it is easier for the body to process and digest it. Chewing the food slowly is also linked to better absorption of nutrients.
Increasing the number of times you chew your food before swallowing can reduce your food consumption, in turn helping you lose weight.6
To drink water between meals or not? Well, there are people on both sides of the fence on that one. People who eat slowly tend to drink more water as they eat. This not only increases your water intake but is also known to improve satiety and reduce food consumption.7
On the days when you are in a rush, have smaller meals at regular intervals, but the key mantra is to have it slowly. This way, you are satisfying your hunger and not wasting time.8 Starving yourself between meals will make you more hungry and promote fast eating. So keep foods handy or drink a glass of water to avoid cravings.
|↑1||Lemmens, Sofie G., Eveline A. Martens, Jurriaan M. Born, Mieke J. Martens, and Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga. “Staggered meal consumption facilitates appetite control without affecting postprandial energy intake.” The Journal of nutrition 141, no. 3 (2011): 482-488.|
|↑2||Maruyama, Koutatsu, Shinichi Sato, Tetsuya Ohira, Kenji Maeda, Hiroyuki Noda, Yoshimi Kubota, Setsuko Nishimura et al. “The joint impact on being overweight of self reported behaviours of eating quickly and eating until full: cross sectional survey.” Bmj 337 (2008): a2002.|
|↑3||Wildi, Stephan M., Radu Tutuian, and Donald O. Castell. “The influence of rapid food intake on postprandial reflux: studies in healthy volunteers.” The American journal of gastroenterology 99, no. 9 (2004): 1645-1651.|
|↑4||Higgs, Suzanne, and Alison Jones. “Prolonged chewing at lunch decreases later snack intake.” Appetite 62 (2013): 91-95.|
|↑5||Shah, Meena, Jennifer Copeland, Lyn Dart, Beverley Adams-Huet, Ashlei James, and Debbie Rhea. “Slower eating speed lowers energy intake in normal-weight but not overweight/obese subjects.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 114, no. 3 (2014): 393-402.|
|↑6||Zhu, Yong, and James H. Hollis. “Increasing the number of chews before swallowing reduces meal size in normal-weight, overweight, and obese adults.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 114, no. 6 (2014): 926-931.|
|↑7||Andrade, Ana M., Daniel L. Kresge, Pedro J. Teixeira, Fátima Baptista, and Kathleen J. Melanson. “Does eating slowly influence appetite and energy intake when water intake is controlled?.” International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 9, no. 1 (2012): 135.|
|↑8||Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster. Harvard Health Publications.|