You may have heard, from your mother or another well-meaning family member, that eating slowly is good for you.
Now new research appearing in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that there is more than a bit of truth to this time honored wisdom
Wolfing down your food makes you far more likely to eat more (and take in added calories) because doing so appears to block gut hormones the body uses to help you feel full.
“Most of us have heard that eating fast can lead to food overconsumption and obesity, and in fact some observational studies have supported this notion,” says Alexander Kokkinos, MD, PhD. “Our study provides a possible explanation for the relationship between speed eating and overeating by showing that the rate at which someone eats may impact the release of gut hormones that signal the brain to stop eating.”
Earlier work has shown that the release of hormones in the gut after a meal is what acts on the brain and gives you those feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
Until this study, concentrations of appetite regulating hormones haven’t been assessed in terms of how fast (or slow) you eat. The latest study tried to see if eating the same meal at varying speeds would cause different gut hormone responses.
For the research 17 healthy male volunteers at the same test meal – 300 milliliters (10 ounces or about 675 calories) of ice cream at different rates. There were two separate sessions – one meal was 5 minutes long, the other was 30 minutes.
The team then took blood samples and measured the levels of glucose, insulin, plasma lipids and gut hormones before the meal and at half hour intervals after the meal began until the session ended, 210 minutes later.
Although the feelings of hunger didn’t seem different between eating ice cream quickly or slowly, there were other differences.
The team found that when the subjects took the full 30 minutes to finish the meal, they had higher concentrations of fullness signaling hormones peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1). These levels lingered for almost three hours after the meal. The slow eaters also reported a higher fullness rating.
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The scientists conclude that, “eating at a physiologically moderate pace leads to a more pronounced anorexigenic gut peptide [appetite reduction] response than eating very fast.”
By eating more slowly, taking time to enjoy the aroma and presentation of your food (as well as the company and conversation), to chew well and savor the taste you’ll find that you’re eating less, taking in fewer calories per meal and controlling your weight.
These findings are particularly important in a time when many of us rely on fast food or eating on the go. Being busy and famished makes it hard to slow down, but doing this can make a difference.
Remember that it takes about 20 minutes from the time you begin eating for your brain start sending out feelings of fullness. If you eat more slowly you’ll give your body the time to send out those signals, and you’ll eat less.
To do this, take small bits and savor each one. Eat regular meals, no more than 4 hours apart, so that you don’t get famished and be sure to drink enough water.
Eating slowly may not only might help with your weight and curb overeating, you’ll also find that you enjoy eating more, so turn off the TV, put on some music, light a candle and focus on the meal in front of you.
Daily Health Bulletin
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