Slow Your Eating… And Lose Weight

Slow Your Eating… And Lose Weight


Do you stand over the sink and wolf down your meal? Do you grab a sandwich to go and chomp it down quickly in your car? Are you a multi-tasker, eating, working and watching television all at the same time? If so, you’re probably eating much too fast and very likely are eating more than you realize.

Many people in the United States eat too fast. It’s part of our culture. But there is a price to pay when racing through your meals.

slowing it down

Changing your eating habits can seem hard. But if you tend to polish off your meal in a matter of minutes, it’s worthwhile making an effort to slow down. Not only can you shave off calories from your meal, you might feel full sooner and end up eating even less.

It takes about 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to get the signal that you’ve had enough to eat. Insulin, Leptin, Ghrelin and Cortisol are hormones that are involved in invoking a sense of fullness by sending messages to the brain. If you gulp your food down before 20 minutes is up, you won’t get the signal that you’re actually full. And in the meantime, you may end up eating more. Give your hormones a chance to do their jobs.

You might even find that slowing down your eating rate can help you better manage your blood glucose levels, allowing your diabetes medicine to work better with the digestion of your food.

Take the time to enjoy your food and take pleasure in eating. In turn, you’ll feel better and may just lose weight in the process.


consequences of
poor eating habits

Bloating and discomfort. When you eat too quickly, you swallow more air. This can leave you feeling bloated, gassy and uncomfortable.

Acid reflux. Also known as gastro-esophageal reflux or heartburn, acid reflux can lead to more serious health problems. A recent study showed that people who ate too quickly were more likely to have acid reflux than people who ate more slowly.

Diabetes risk. Eating too fast may also raise the risk of type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that people who ate quickly were two and a half times more likely to develop diabetes than slower eaters. This may be linked to the fact that fast eaters are more likely to be overweight which, in turn, increases diabetes risk.

Weight gain. In one study, 30 average weight young women were given a lunch of pasta and tomato sauce on two separate occasions. The first time, they were told to eat until they were full, but to eat as quickly as possible. The second time, they were asked to eat slowly and put their fork down between bites. When they ate quickly, the women consumed 646 calories in nine minutes; when they ate slowly, they consumed 579 calories in 29 minutes. The women also reported that they were less satisfied and felt hungry when they ate quickly compared with when they ate slowly. In another study, researchers discovered that people who reported eating quickly until they were full were three times as likely to be overweight than slower eaters who stopped eating before they were full.

By Amy Campbell, MS, RD, LDN, CDE

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