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Eating Slower and Weight Loss

Eating Slower and Weight Loss

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It takes at least 20 minutes after eating for your stomach to tell your brain that it is full, but most of us finish a meal in 10 minutes and for this reason many of us overeat without even realizing it. To avoid the chance of overeating, eating slower has been found to be very effective. By eating slower, you give your stomach time to tell your brain you've eaten enough, which will make you feel full.

Eating Slower and Weight Loss - Research

Eating slower may help overweight people lose weight after all, according to a new study that tested the commonly held belief. The study showed that overweight men and women actually ate less when they ate at a slower than usual pace. Researchers say the study shows that eating slower may assist overweight men and women in their weight loss efforts.

Study to find if Slower Eating Rate Reduces Food Intake

In the study, 28 overweight men and women ate a lunch of chicken nuggets at their normal pace in order for researchers to establish their habitual eating pattern. Then over the course of three lunches, researchers varied the pace of the same meal by instructing the participants to take a bite when they heard a computer beep.

In the first lunch, they ate a prolonged meal in which the pace of the entire meal was slowed by 50%. In the second, they ate a decelerated meal in which the pace of only the last half of the meal was decreased by half, and in the final meal they ate at a steady pace. The participants were told that the computer beeping would last indefinitely, and they could eat as much or as little as they wanted.

The study showed that all of the participants ate more during the steady meal than in either of the slower meals. The difference between each of the three meals was largest among the men. However, researchers say only a small number of men were involved in the study (six), and more research is needed to confirm this result. But they say this study shows that a slower rate of eating results in people eating less, which may help them lose weight.

Diet Tips to Eat Slower More Naturally

Ready to start eating more slowly as some of your best diet tips?  Here are some handy ways that you can make that happen more naturally instead of just forcing yourself to chew at a slower rate:

  • Choose a calm eating environment – If you eat while watching TV, driving, walking, texting, or in a hectic space, you’ll wolf your food down. It will speed up the rate of putting food into your mouth and chewing.  In those environments, the point becomes getting the food in as quickly as you can.  By choosing a calmer environment, everything about you will slow down and be more relaxed.
  • Eat high fiber foods –Fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains are all high in fiber. That said, they also take more time to chew.  Therefore, eating more of them will naturally slow down the pace of your eating and make your meals slower overall.  This is often included among diet tips because high fiber foods also help you to feel full faster and for a longer period of time.
  • Set your utensils down – Many of us have built the habit of putting more food on our forks while we’re chewing the previous bite. That way, the next bite is all set once there’s room for it.  It’s efficient, but it speeds up the eating process.  When your goal is eating slower, set your utensils down until you’ve chewed and swallowed each bite.  Only then can you pick the utensils up again to prepare the next one.  It will give you the opportunity to enjoy better conversation during your meal, you’ll be more likely to savor each bite, and you’ll eat more slowly, too.
  • Chew your food thoroughly – Many of us are in such a hurry when we eat that we don’t chew our food to its optimal amount. Try consciously chewing your food thoroughly.  Does it take longer than it usually would? This often means that you are among those of us who aren’t chewing enough.  Chewing is the first step to digestion and doing it thoroughly enough is important to making sure you can get the most nutrients out of your food.  It is the first part of breaking down your food and it mixes the food with saliva, a vital digestive step. Doing it enough will likely mean you’re eating slowly compared to your typical rate.
  • Use chopsticks – Chopsticks limit the amount you can pick up at any given time. This helps you to control the size of your bites so you will start eating slowly and, in a way, more conducive to good digestion and weight loss.

SOURCE: Martin, C."Does Slower Eating Rate Reduce Food Intake? Results of an Empirical Test" presented at the North American Association for the Study of Obesity 2004 Annual Scientific Meeting, Nov. 14-18, 2004, Las Vegas.


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