Most people would agree that the types of food we eat have an effect on our health in one-way or another, but what about the speed at which we eat our food? A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association compared calorie intake among women eating their meals either slow (put their utensils down between bites and chewed the food thoroughly) or fast (used larger utensils and did not take breaks while eating). What the researchers found was that the women who ate slower consumed about 65 less calories per meal despite spending more time at the table eating. Not only did they eat less, they also reported being more satiated than the women who ate fast.
Now, 65 calories may not seem like a lot, but if you were able to eat slow and cut 65 calories at two of your meals each day, that would add up to about 13.5 pounds of weight loss in one year. Not bad when you consider the average person gains between 0.5 to 1 pound each year.
The reason for the reduced intake is twofold. First, slower eating allows the hormones from your stomach to reach your brain and essentially say “stop eating, you have consumed enough”, this process takes about 20 minutes. Secondly, when you eat slower you will have more conscious awareness and enjoyment of the taste and amount of food you are eating. Eating slower and chewing your food thoroughly can also do wonders for improving digestion and feelings of well being after the meal. This strategy is not an easy one to implement, but it is vitally important. Stay with it and in time you will find this approach much more satisfying.
By: Jeff Scull, M.A., Aegis Research and Development | Nutrition and Triathlon Coach