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Eating Slowly May Not Help You Eat Less

Eating Quickly = More Calories Consumed?

When I sit down to a meal, I try to eat slowly, savor each tasty bite, and chew thoroughly. Not only is it more enjoyable to eat that way, but I thought it was healthier for my waistline. It's a common notion, that if you scarf down your food quickly, you'll end up eating more calories, which will make you pack on the pounds. Some diet experts will say that obese people eat faster than lean people. So is that true?

Scientifically speaking, there really isn't much evidence to show that eating slowly has anything to do with how much you weigh. We've always been told that if you eat slow enough, your body will have time to release the hormone that tells your body it's full. While it was thought that it takes your body about 15 to 20 minutes to get the message, it's now found that for some people, that full feeling won't come until an hour or more after eating.

So the pace you eat at may not affect how much you eat, but may have more to do with the kinds of foods you eat. Want to hear why? Then

That full feeling is felt in your belly, but it also has to do with your brain and the pleasure sensations you get from eating. When you're hungry, the first bite of your meal is delicious and as you become full towards the end of your meal, it's not as enjoyable. So if a new food is presented to you, since it has a different taste, it'll reawaken your appetite, and you'll continue to eat. So taste, rather than pace, may be the reason why more calories are consumed.

The form of the food you eat factors into your fullness, too. In a recent study, before eating a meal, some participants were given an apple and some were given apple juice. Those who ate the apple ate 190 fewer calories. It could be that the chewing triggered their body to feel fuller.

The bottom line is, try to be conscious about what you're eating, not just how you're eating it. It's good to have a general idea of how many calories are in the foods you eat, so you can choose foods that are low in calories. Place appropriate serving sizes on your plate so you know you're eating a healthy amount. If you're out to dinner, and your meal is big enough for two, either share it with someone else, or ask the other half to be wrapped up. Hopefully these tips can prevent you from eating extra.

Join The Conversation
nancita nancita 9 years
Good advice. The "what you're eating" part explains why I can't stop eating at a party with lots of little treats! Well that, and my lack of willpower.
behemoth_the_cat behemoth_the_cat 9 years
P.S. Although i AM eating it slowly....
behemoth_the_cat behemoth_the_cat 9 years
Fitsugar, it is CRUEL to place a picture of such a sinfully delicious-looking yet calorie-packed tart next to an article that talks about HOW TO EAT LESS. May it be on your concience that I am helping myself to some apple tart right now... :p
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
I noticed that I eat fast because I think there will not be any more food. I dunno, maybe my ancestors dealt with famine? I really need to tell myself that it's okay not to eat EVERYthing on the plate because there WILL be more food. weird.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I dunno... My boyfriend serisouly eats ANYTHING in liek 10 minutes flat. No jokes! He sits there waiting for me to finish for a good 15 minutes after he is done! It's crazy! And he is not fat, but I guess he is a 20 year old guy with an awesome metabolism...
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Thanks for the info...
rumpel2 rumpel2 9 years
i'm a fast eater, but whenever i try and eat slow i feel that i eat fewer calories!
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
I've picked up this bad habit of gobbling down my food from my mom. She grew up in a big, poor family, where if you didn't eat your food fast... someone else would eat it. Also, I notice that when I go out to eat with people, the more they talk (and consequently, they eat slower), they eat less... whereas, I'm usually listening and end up finishing off my food.
pequeña pequeña 9 years
That is so true, but unfortunately sometimes I don't have time to eat and I have to go fast. Then you get used to it and you just can't eat slowly anymore. But yeah, you should take your time, that's the good thing.
lovealways lovealways 9 years
I feel that the slow eating method works when I'm multitasking, and eating while doing something else. If I don't pay attention to eating slowly, I end up eating more than I realize. By a lot.
nikecold nikecold 9 years
I don't know, I usually eat really fast everyone in my house does. I can't really tell if I eat more because of it though. But I'm sure the part where you're hungry and desperate for food and its delicious at first and then at the end you're disgusted, I KNOW that's true.
almostloli almostloli 9 years
i sometimes try it, yeah it works for me, eating slow suggest my brain that i have enough already
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
Really weird I just looked up the specific peptide they were talking about the that study Peptide YY3-36 or PYY and it seems to come either come from the gut or from the hypothalamus and tries to work in opposition to gherin, leptin and insulin. Wow, one peptide against three. It did pretty good in one clinical study in NEJM. But the seem to be trying to narrow down its function still. Wow thanks Fit. My GBS support group will love this info.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
Gherin is produced the stomach but found in the hypothalamus in the brain. It tell the brain that the stomach is either full or hungry. And it malfunctions in some people producing too much,mainly overweight and obese people and anoxeric/bulimics. One of the reasons I had gastric bypass is because I am a slow eater but my stomach just kept overproducing gherin (so my PhD surgeon thinks) so by removing the majority of my stomach and small intestines where the hormone was produced I stopped produced that hunger hormone. Instead I only get that sensation of being full after eating, something that I don't think my stomach ever let me get before. It's all really weird stuff. I think they call the fast eating "mindless eating". But my dietitian wants me to continue to do my slow "mindful eating". Like you said savory, taste, feel each bite. It's weird but I never realized that before I cleaned my plate because I hated to waste food not because I wasn't full. Now, I still eat slowly then look down and go oh well into the trash with you.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I think your eating speed can have something to do with it, but not always. I mean, if you have a serving of food on a plate and you eat it fast, you'll feel full in 15 minutes or so. I think it depends more on how much is on your plate to begin with. The slow eating technique probably works better if you have a large portion given to you...the slow eating will probably allow you to get the full sensation before you finish. What works for me is to just measure out my servings so I don't have to depend on my eating speed for my weight management (I'm a pretty fast eater!).
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