Does eating SLOWLY help weight loss?

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Can eating slowly help you lose weight? Or said the other way…does eating fast actually make you gain weight? Turns out there is a whole heck of a lot of research behind this and the studies are pretty clear.​

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One recent review of 23 published studies found that fast eaters were approximately twice as likely to be obese, compared with slow eaters. (NIH)

In fact, fast eaters are up to 115% more likely to be obese than slower eaters. In May 2009, a sample of 2,500 New Zealand women ages 40 to 50 years were randomly selected.   A 66% participation rate was achieved. Potential participants were mailed a self-administered questionnaire containing questions on self-reported speed of eating, demographics, health conditions, menopause status, physical activity, height, and weight.

With over 95% confidence, fast eaters were 115% more likely to be obese than slow eaters. (NIH)

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In another study of over 4,000 middle-aged Japanese adults, those who said they ate very fast tended to be heavier and had gained the most body weight since age 20. The results among middle-aged men and women suggest that eating fast would lead to obesity. (NIH) 

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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.   The relationship between eating fast and weight change was statistically significant even after adjusting for age and body mass index in 2000, drinking, smoking, and exercise. The results suggested that the speed of eating is related to the rate of weight gain. (NIH).

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In addition to weight gain and obesity, eating fast may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. It may also lead to poor digestion and decrease enjoyment of your food.

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In fact, it may take up to 20 minutes for your brain to realize that you’re full.

In a 2009 study of 17 healthy adult male volunteers, a test meal consisting of 300 ml of ice cream (675 kcal) was consumed in random order on two different sessions by each subject: meal duration took either 5 or 30 min. (NIH).

Main Outcome:

  • The postprandial (After-eating) response of the appetite stimulant hormone ghrelin and the appetite suppressant peptides YY and glucagon-like peptide-1 over 210 min was assessed.
  • Appetite suppressant peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1 was higher after the 30-min meal than after the 5-min meal.

Conclusions: Eating at a moderate pace leads to more appetite suppressant gut peptide response than eating very fast.  In other words, you’ll feel more full!

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What does all this mean?

To me, this is fasting research.  

Right now, Americans are overly focused on Keto Diets and Intermittent fasting – and rightfully so because food selection and meal timing are very important.

However, the low-hanging fruit – the easy thing is to change your rate of eating.

This is something anyone can practice, at any time, without any special knowledge or training.

It may not be able to overcome a bad diet, but at least if you were eating a bad diet, you’d eat less of it!

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