Can eating slow help you lose weight?

Eating slowly

The findings of the study showed that slow eaters tend to be healthier and possess a healthier lifestyle compared to those who eat at either a fast or normal speed. And although absolute reductions in waist circumference over the course of the study were small, they were greater among slow and normal eaters.

The new study, published in the journal BMJ Open, saw experts analyse health insurance data from 60,000 people in Japan who had regular health check-ups between 2008 and 2013.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a ratio of weight-to-height which is used for learning whether a person is within the healthy range category or not.

This is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, added to which eating speed was based on subjective assessment, nor did the researchers assess energy intake or physical activity.

After taking into account other potential factors, the researchers found that those who said they ate at normal speed were 29 percent less likely to be obese than those who said they were fast eaters.

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People who said they don't usually snack after dinner and those who avoiding eating within two hours of bedtime also tended to see some weight loss, the researchers found. But skipping breakfast wasn't.

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.

The results of the analysis matches findings of previous studies that people who eat faster gain more weight.

"Interventions aimed at reducing eating speed may be effective in preventing obesity and lowering the associated health risks", the authors write.

Eating more slowly, along with not eating within 2 hours of going to sleep, and cutting out after dinner snacks, could help with weight loss, researchers say. Only 21.5 percent of participants in a self-defined slow eating group were obese, compared with more than 44 percent of a self-defined fast-eating group, Channel News Asia explained.

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Eating speed and other behavior were self-reported in the study.

Simon Cork-Imperial College of London while commenting on the research said the research confirms what we already believe in that eating slowly leads to less weight gain in comparison to eating at a quicker pace. By eating too fast, people may not give this intricate hormonal system the needed time to tell the brain that the stomach is full.

They continue that "eating slowly may help to increase feelings of satiety before an excessive amount of food is ingested" - that is, it gives your body time to register that you've eaten something.

'In particular, workers who snatch their lunch at the desk are doing their health no favours. "They should stop what they're doing, switch off their phones and emails and preferably take a half hour away from the office altogether".

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