An increasing number of books advise eating slowly – but what evidence is there to back this advice? Finally a small study has shown that eating slowly really can lead to reduced caloric intake and an increased sense of fullness.Lead researcher Kathleen Melanson had 30 normal-weight college-age women consumer a large bowl of pasta. They were asked to eat the food quickly. On a second occasion they were asked to eat the same meal – but to really take their time.
- Eating quickly – consumed 646 calories in 9 minutes.
- Eating slowly – consumed 579 calories in 29 minutes.
Upon completion of the meal and an hour afterward, the women were less satisfied and hungrier when eating quickly compared with when they ate slowly. They said they enjoyed the meal more when they were taking their time. (via USA Today)
More water was consumed during the “slow eat” – so this may have contributed to the feeling of fullness.
Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Endrocrinology and Metabolism discovered that when participants ate an ice cream over the course of 30 minutes, they had higher levels of gut hormones that trigger satiety, than those who ate the ice cream in 5 minutes.
5 Tricks to Eating Slowly
- Eat mindfully. Sit at a table, not on your couch, and never in front of the TV or in your car. Note how long it takes you to finish a meal.
- Set your fork down between each bite while you savor your food and swallow. Enjoy some dinner conversation, then have another bite. Better yet, try eating with chopsticks!
- Practice a slower pace at meal time. So often we’re pressed into hurrying through meals by other responsibilities. Schedule meals so that you have time to relax and enjoy your food.
- Stop half way through your meal, drink some water, and as yourself, “Am I full?”
- Change the way you look at meals and mealtime. Spend time creating healthy meals with a variety of tastes and textures.
Just like changing any other habit, learning to slow down at meal times takes practice and hard work.
Treating mealtime as a time to recharge and nourish your body will not only repair an unhealthy relationship with food, But, giving those hormones in your gut a chance to catch up will reduce the number of calories eaten at each sitting.