Study reveals the link between slow eating and low obesity

Study reveals the link between slow eating and low obesity

Study reveals the link between slow eating and low obesity

People who ate at a normal speed were around 29% less likely to be obese than a fast eater. More than 59,000 Japanese men and women took part in the study, and they were asked to rate their own eating speed as fast, normal or slow. The slow eaters had the lowest body mass indexes (BMIs) and waist circumferences - which indicates less visceral fat, the kind linked to disease.

The researchers, who published their findings in the journal BMJ Open, said they set out to analyze "the effects of changes in lifestyle habits on changes in obesity". Next, the participants answered a set of questions about their eating speed ('fast", "normal' and "slow'), whether they had dinner within 2 hours of sleeping, but also habits concerning after-dinner snacking, skipping breakfast, alcohol consumption frequency, sleep adequacy and tobacco consumption".

"What stands out to me about this study is the positive thought that eating speed is a modifiable risk factor in a world where people feel many health risk factors are beyond their control", she said in an email.

At the beginning of the study, more than 22,000 participants ate quickly, 33,500 ate at a normal pace and 4,200 ate slowly.

The study also found that eating dinner within two hours of going to sleep and snacking after dinner might increase the odds of obesity. But skipping breakfast wasn't.

The body's metabolism slows down towards the end of the day, so eating too late means calories are not burned off.

Physicians working in diabetes and weight management already recommend slower eating speed to limit portion size.

Eating slowly, eating breakfast, and not eating midnight snacks are not the only things that people need to do to lose weight though.

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The findings were based on health insurance data for almost 60,000 people with diabetes in Japan.

A previous study, by experts at North Carolina State University in the USA, found "mindful eating" - savouring every mouthful, concentrating on flavour and "eating with purpose" - helped people lose six times as much weight as other slimmers.

Leah Cahill, an assistant professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax who researches eating but was not involved in the study, says the results are empowering.

The team also noticed the adjustment in the eating speed over the timeframe of six years. By eating too fast, people may not give this intricate hormonal system the needed time to tell the brain that the stomach is full.

'Eating quickly also causes bigger blood sugar fluctuations which can lead to insulin resistance. Next time you consider a weight loss program make sure your brain doesn't hold you back.

Tam Fry, chairman of the UK's National Obesity Forum, supported the study's findings, telling the Guardian: "The speed at which a lot of people wolf down their food is undeniably a contributor to obesity".

'In particular, workers who snatch their lunch at the desk are doing their health no favours.

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