When it comes to many things in life, speed is good. The faster you do something the more likely you are to get it done and succeed. However, faster isn’t always better. You can drive too fast, age too fast… But, what about eating too fast?
Eating Too Fast:
Metabolic syndrome is a collection of 5 risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes: waist size, high blood pressure, high fasting glucose, high triglycerides and high HDL cholesterol. A new study followed 8,941 participants without a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome for 3 years. Participants were categorized as either “slow,” “medium,” or “fast” eaters and were tracked for metabolic syndrome. Over the course of the study, 647 were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (had at least 3 of the risk factors). The researchers found that those who ate “fast” were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome than those who ate at “slow” or “medium” speeds (after adjusting for potential confounders). Of the 5 risk factors, waist size and HDL cholesterol were significantly associated with eating too fast. Other researchers have found that eating too fast is also associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Another study found that women who ate slowly ate an average of 579 calories in 29 minutes compared to fast eaters who ate 646 calories in just 9 minutes! Despite eating less, those who ate slow also reported feeling fuller and enjoyed the meal more.
The main hypothesis as to why eating too fast harms your health has to do with a hormone called ghrelin that signals fullness. When you begin to eat, ghrelin is released by the stomach. However, it takes about 20 minutes for it to reach your brain. So, if you eat fast, you’re at a high risk of overeating because your brain hasn’t yet received the signal that you’re full!
So, slow down your eating speed. Try to take at least 20 minutes to eat any meal. One excellent tip to slow down is to remember to sip water throughout the meal. You should become healthier, lose some weight and enjoy your food more as a result!
Andrade, Ana M., Geoffrey W. Greene, and Kathleen J. Melanson. “Eating slowly led to decreases in energy intake within meals in healthy women.”Journal of the American Dietetic Association 108.7 (2008): 1186-1191.
Otsuka, Rei, et al. “Eating fast leads to obesity: findings based on self-administered questionnaires among middle-aged Japanese men and women.”Journal of epidemiology 16.3 (2006): 117-124.
Radzevičienė, Lina, and Rytas Ostrauskas. “Fast eating and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: A case-control study.” Clinical Nutrition 32.2 (2013): 232-235.
Zhu, Bing, et al. “Association Between Eating Speed and Metabolic Syndrome in a Three-Year Population-Based Cohort Study.” Journal of Epidemiology 25.4 (2015): 332.