Want to Keep the Weight Off? Eat More Slowly

From Drugs.com - February 13, 2018

Want to Keep the Weight Off? Eat More Slowly

TUESDAY, Feb. 13, 2018 -- Instead of gulping your food, try eating more slowly. It may help you drop those unwanted pounds, a new study by Japanese researchers suggests.

Also helpful: Avoiding after-dinner snacks and eating anything in the two hours before you go to bed, the researchers said.

The study linked those simple changes to a smaller waist, and lower rates of obesity and overweight.

Compared with people who gobbled their food, those who ate at a normal speed were 29 percent less likely to be obese. But those who ate slowly were up to 42 percent less likely to be obese.

In addition, slow eaters tended to be healthier and to have a healthier lifestyle than those who ate quickly or at a normal speed.

This study could not, however, prove that eating speed causes or prevents obesity, only that it appears to be associated, the researchers noted. They were led by Dr. Haruhisa Fukuda from the Department of Health Care Administration and Management at Kyushu University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Fukuoka, Japan.

But, eating slowly may very well play a role in curbing obesity, said Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, Conn. He had no part in the study.

"Practices that impose some mindfulness and discipline on eating may help with both losing weight and staying healthy," Katz said. He's also president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

Slow eating is characteristic of a more mindful approach. Food choice is more conscious, and eating is appreciated for quality rather than just quantity, he said.

"Avoiding food in the hours just before sleep also suggests a more thoughtful approach to diet that involves some reasonable constraints," Katz said.

The research team's findings came from analysis of health insurance data on nearly 60,000 Japanese residents with diabetes who had made insurance claims and had regular checkups between 2008 and 2013.

The checkups included weight and waist size measurements and the results of blood, urine and liver function tests. Participants also were asked about their lifestyle, including eating and sleep habits and alcohol and tobacco use.

At the start of the study, more than 22,000 people routinely ate quickly, while nearly 33,500 ate at a normal speed and almost 4,200 ate more slowly.

Although reductions in waist size -- a sign of a potentially harmful midriff bulge -- were small, they were greater among those who ate slowly or at normal speed, the study found.

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