Eating Slowly Tied to Lower BMI and Obesity Risk (Study)
15 February, 2018, 02:38
But most importantly, those who slowed down while they ate tended to lose weight, according to researchers.
In a study tracking the eating habits of almost 60,000 participants with type 2 diabetes, over a period of close to six years, researchers discovered those who ate more slowly tended to be thinner.
They were specifically asked about their eating speed, which was categorised as fast, normal, or slow, and they were asked whether they did any of the following three or more times a week: eat dinner within two hours of going to sleep; snack after dinner; and skip breakfast. Also, they were asked about the times of eating breakfast and eating snacks after dinner.
Participants were divided into three categories based on eating speed: fast (n = 22,070; 27.3% women; mean age, 46.6 years; 44.8% with obesity); normal (n = 33,455; 36.5% women; mean age, 48.1 years; 29.6% with obesity); or slow (n = 4,192; 44.4% women; mean age, 46.5 years; 21.5% with obesity). Only about 7% of people called themselves slow eaters.
Some experts have questioned the findings, however. "Those who naturally eat slowly may be attending to their body's cues for fullness, and eat a more appropriate portion during each eating occasion", Nina Crowley, Ph.D., a registered dietitian nutritionist and health psychologist working at the Medical University of SC, told CBS News.
Although absolute reductions in waist circumference were small, they were greater among the slow and normal speed eaters. Surprisingly, eating breakfast did not appear to make much of a difference for weight gain. Nevertheless, eating quickly has been linked to impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.
This could be because the satiety signal takes time to travel to the brain from the stomach and may reach only when the fast eater has already consumed more than they need.
Slow eaters also tended to be healthier, and to have healthier habits, than their faster-eating peers.
"Interventions aimed at altering eating habits, such as education initiatives and programmes to reduce eating speed, may be useful in preventing obesity and reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases", the authors write.
Registered dietitian and Slim Down Now author Cynthia Sass, who was not involved in the study, says the findings are not surprising. You're less likely to burn off those extra calories overnight, when the body's energy requirement is low. "Practices that impose some mindfulness and discipline on eating may help with both losing weight and staying healthy", Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, Conn., who had no part in the study, told Health Day.
In the study, obesity was defined as having a BMI score over 25 - in Ireland, people are deemed to be overweight with a BMI score over 25 and obese with a score over 30.
Pauses targeted at lessening the eating speed may prove effective in preventing obesity and reducing the linked health risks.
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