Eating slowly may help prevent obesity, say researchers

Eating slowly may help prevent obesity, say researchers

Eating more slowly, along with not eating within 2 hours of going to sleep, and cutting out after dinner snacks, could help with weight loss, researchers say.

In addition, slow eaters tended to be healthier and to have a healthier lifestyle than those who ate quickly or at a normal speed.

And although absolute reductions in waist circumference-an indicator of a potentially harmful midriff bulge-were small, they were greater among the slow and normal speed eaters.

Further, switching from a fast to a slow eating pace could help decrease BMI, according to the researchers.

'It takes fast eaters longer to feel full simply because they don't allow time for the gut hormones to tell the brain to stop eating.

The body's metabolism slows down towards the end of the day, so eating too late means calories are not burned off. They looked at Japanese men and women with type 2 diabetes and asked them to rate their own eating speed as fast, normal or slow.

Research involving almost 60,000 Japanese showed a link between eating slower or faster and losing or gaining weight.

The researchers, who published their findings in the journal BMJ Open, said they set out to analyze "the effects of changes in lifestyle habits on changes in obesity".

Dr. Haruhisa Fukuda, of Kyushu University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Fukuoka, Japan, said: "Changes in eating habits can affect obesity, BMI, and waist circumference."Interventions aimed at reducing eating speed may be effective in preventing obesity and lowering the associated health risks".

Commenting on the research, Simon Cork of Imperial College London said it "confirms what we already believe, that eating slowly is associated with less weight gain than eating quickly".

Snacking after dinner and eating within two hours of going to sleep also were linked to changes in weight. People who ate slowly were 42% less likely to be obese. Surprisingly, eating breakfast did not appear to make much of a difference for weight gain.

Eating slowly, eating breakfast, and not eating midnight snacks are not the only things that people need to do to lose weight though. The researchers wanted to see if eating speed and some other eating behaviours, such as snacking after dinner, affected obesity. But skipping breakfast wasn't.

Previous research has linked eating quickly to impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. "In America, speed eating takes the lead".

The study included mostly working-age people who were motivated to attend health checks, so we don't know if the results would apply to older or less health-conscious people.

If you tend to be a fast eater, Crowley suggests trying to practice mindful eating, in which you consciously pay attention to each bite of food you put into your mouth and notice your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

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