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Slow Your Roll — Slow Eating Speed Linked to Weight Loss


Looking to shed those pesky last few pounds this spring?

Turns out, losing weight may be as simple as slowing down while eating.

In addition to chewing your food slowly, it’s best to cut out all after dinner snacking and do not eat within two hours before going to sleep, concludes new research by the online journal BMJ Open.

Eating Speed Correlated with Size of Waistline

Changes in eating habits affect obesity, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, according to the researchers. It takes longer for fast eaters to feel full, say the researchers, and it happens more quickly for slower eaters to feel full, which reduces their caloric intake. Plus, eating quickly has been associated with health risks, such as insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance. Interventions to reduce eating speed may help prevent obesity, and lower other health risks.

In the newly published research, these changes in eating habits are directly linked to weight loss. People who make these small changes in their eating patterns are associated with smaller waistlines, and lower weight and risk of obesity. Research for this study was collected from longitudinal health insurance data for 60,000 people with diabetes in Japan between 2008-2013 who submitted their insurance claims and had regular health check-up visits.

Study participants were asked about their lifestyle habits, including their eating and sleeping patterns. They were asked about eating speed, whether it was fast, normal or slow. They were also quizzed about their habits of snacking after dinner, eating dinner within two hours of going to bed, and skipping breakfast in the morning. In the study, researchers found that the slow eaters were healthier and had healthier lifestyles overall than the fast or normal speed eaters.

Slim Down By Eating Slower

Both sleeping and eating habits (including previous obesity and alcohol consumption) were associated with obesity for those with a BMI greater than 25. The results revealed that those who ate a normal speed were 29% less likely to be obese; those who ate slowly were 42% less likely to be obese than those who ate their food quickly. Waist circumference reductions were greater for study participants who were slow or normal speed eaters. Interestingly, eating within two hours of going to sleep (3 or more times per week) and snacking after dinner (think: the night munchies) were linked to changes in larger BMI; however, skipping breakfast altogether was not.

Claims data included information on test results for liver, urine and blood chemistry. Over the course of the six years studied, approximately half of the total sample of participants (52%) changed their speed of eating. The sample of participants was composed of health-conscious people who voluntarily participated in health check-up visits. The subjects in this study all had a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.


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