A recent study links slow eating speed with weight loss. Along with cutting out after dinner snacks and not eating within 2 hours of going to sleep.
Japanese researchers found that slowing down the speed at which we eat may help us lose weight.
This spurred me into research of other benefits of eating slowly. I had thought that once you had inputted quality you were golden. Speed counts, it seems!
Why you should eat slowly?
1. Better digestion
Allowing more time to properly chew in your mouth starts the digestive process with saliva. Digestion begins in the mouth so the more you do up there, the less work you’ll have to do in your stomach. Also allowing time for proper digestion to take place means that you are more likely to avoid digestive problems. Eg bloating etc
Bloating can occur when you add excess air to your stomach, causing your stomach to feel larger or uncomfortable than it usually does.
2. Your body can better absorb the nutrients from the food
Not kidding. Giving more time for the digestive process to occur by chewing slowly and mindfully will help you break down the food and activate the enzymes needed for digestion, which allows the body to absorb more nutrients.
A 2013 study, showed that almonds chewed more thorougly were more fully absorbed and utilized by the body due to the smaller particle sizes being more bioaccessible.
4. Decrease stress
In a lot of cases, mindless eating can be caused by stress. If you can discipline yourself into adopting the practice of mindful eating, it has been shown to no only reduce stress hormone levels but also found to counteract anxiety.
3. Enjoy your food more & prolong the experience
As one of the joys of life, why not prolong & enrich the food experience.
Study demonstrated pleasantness ratings be much higher in the slow eating group. Prolonging the eating experience allows for more time for appreciation and enjoyment.
5. Lose weight
A growing number of studies support that and the latest re-enforces it.
The fact is that it takes about 20 minutes for the array of signals and transmitters in the digestive system to signal to our brains that we are full. If you take the full 20-30 minutes to consume a meal, you end up eating the amount that your body actually needs.
Eating too fast on the other hand, can cause you to take in more calories than you need, which can lead to weight gain, according to a study in the May 2006 issue of “Journal of Epidemiology.”
Less likely to get heart disease, stroke & diabetes
Research has shown that those who gobble down their food are five times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome or Syndrome X are the terms used to describe a cluster of health problems which puts people at greater risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
In a 2013 study published in PLOS-One, a clear link was shown between lots of chewing and lower levels of diabetes. Another 2013 study compliments this by showing that eating lunch slowly means you are far less likely to snack in the afternoon, unless you are actually hungry.
Tips on how to eat slower
• Make sure that you have the time to eat before beginning. If not, save the food for when you can relax and enjoy it more.
• Set a timer to 20 minutes and eat in accordance
• Take smaller bites, chew each bite(slowly) till it liquifies, or loses all its texture, before swallowing.
• Drink a glass of water, between mouthfuls
• Put fork down between bites
• Resist the need to keep up with the people around you
• Focus on the taste of your food, appreciating it and on really enjoying it – master the art of mindful eating
• Make sure to give 20 – 30 mins to the process. If you only have 50% of this time, say 15 minutes, then just eat 50% of the food.
Pay extra attention and caution to the following times
• Times when your blood sugar drops and you are starving
• You are experiencing any negative feelings or else any extreme feelings – excited and nervous or in a hurry
Why eating slowly may be interlinked with longevity
Eating slowly has been positively associated in research with eating less. Eating less has been associated with longevity. We can speculate that eating slowly may therefore be positively associated with longevity.
The results from the “Blue Zone” Project support this claim as one of the findings was that in the Blue Zones there was a common tendancy in the Zones for habitants to think of food and dining as sacred.
They gave a lot of time, patience and effort to growing, preparing, serving and eating. And thought of these practices as sacred with the power to bring together families and friends.
Another finding was that the people of Okinawa stopped eating when 80% full: this only becomes possible with slow eating.
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