Eating Slowly Tied to Lower BMI and Obesity Risk

Eating Slowly Tied to Lower BMI and Obesity Risk

Eating Slowly Tied to Lower BMI and Obesity Risk

The study tracked almost 60,000 people and discovered that how fast they ate and the timing of their evening meal and snacks appeared to be significant factors in whether they ended up obese or managed to lose weight.

They found overweight people who followed the "mindful eating" mantra lost four and a half pounds (1.9kg) in 15 weeks, compared to other slimmers who just lost just two thirds of a pound (0.3kg).

On the one hand, slow eating gives our bodies time to register a sense of satisfaction and fullness, so we tend to eat less, she said.

For the study, experts analysed health insurance data from people with diabetes in Japan who had regular health check-ups between 2008 and 2013. Participants also were asked about their lifestyle, including eating and sleep habits and alcohol and tobacco use.

By comparison, more than 44 per cent of the fast-eating group of 22,070 people, was obese, with a mean BMI of 25.

Speedy eaters might finish their food faster, but those calories might linger longer. They were specifically questioned about their speed of eating, which was classified as slow, normal or fast.

Further, switching from a fast to a slow eating pace could help decrease BMI, according to the researchers.

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After taking account of potentially influential factors, the results showed that compared with those who tended to gobble up their food, those who ate at a normal speed were 29 percent less likely to be obese, rising to 42 percent for those who ate slowly.

No sleep loss, not skipping breakfast and not eating dinner two hours before bed were all associated with a lower BMI.

During the study period, 51.9% of participants changed their eating speed from baseline; 0.29% switched from being fast eaters to slow eaters, and 0.15% changed from being slow eaters to fast eaters.

As the current research was an observational study, no firm conclusions were drawn about cause and effect - added to which eating speed was based on subjective assessment - nor did the researchers examine the physical activity or energy intake levels, both of which may have been influential. Surprisingly, eating breakfast did not appear to make much of a difference for weight gain.

"Eat slowly" sounds simple, but that doesn't mean it's straightforward: Susan Jebb, an Oxford University professor of diet and population health, believes "the outstanding challenge" is figuring out ways to put the advice into practice. In the study, obesity was defined as having a BMI score of over 25 - in the United Kingdom (UK) people are deemed to be overweight with a BMI score of over 25 and obese if they have a score of over 30.

They also had their body mass index (BMI) calculated, their waist size measured, and were categorised as obese or not obese.

"Interventions aimed at altering eating habits, such as education initiatives and programmes to reduce eating speed, may be useful in preventing obesity and reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases", the authors conclude.
Of course, it's also of great importance to continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eat healthy food.

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