Do slower meals help you lose weight?
Brain takes time to realize you're full
If you want to lose weight or get in better shape, eating less food often tops the lists of things to change.
But it can get complicated. Do you track everything and try to add up calories at the end of the day? Take a picture of everything before you eat it so you have to really think? Eat half of everything that you would normally eat?
One Web site says the key to eating less doesn't require carrying around a notebook or pushing yourself away from the table. All you have to do is eat more slowly.
HealthAssist.net actually says that there are several reasons to take your time.
The site says that eating slowly means eating less because it takes the brain 15 to 20 minutes to start signaling that your stomach is full.
The Longevity guide on About.com says that the average meal in the U.S. lasts just 11 minutes.
But if you slow down while sitting in front of the same size portion as usual, you may not eat the last bits because your brain will get the message that you don't need more fuel. Eating less, of course, can lead to weight loss.
Basically, eating fast lets you eat too much before you're aware of it, HealthAssist said.
And SilverPlanet.com said that, in a study, people in a fast-eating group averaged 646 calories during a meal, compared to 579 calories in a slower group.
About.com also says that when you eat slowly, you taste your food more. You can socialize with those you dine with and enjoy the flavors and textures of your meal.
That will lead you to choose better, more natural, healthier food, the site says, because mass-produced food loses flavor after just a few bites.
HealthAssist also says that if food spends more time in the mouth, it digests better as saliva breaks it down. That means that, further down the line, you can metabolize food more easily.
Besides the benefits that come from weight loss and choosing more nutritious food -- such as losing weight or lowering blood pressure -- the site says that a Japanese study found that eating fast was linked to insulin resistance, one of the signs of diabetes.
Besides that, rapid eating may cause acid reflux and the pain of heartburn.
Even if you don't see huge benefits when you stop shoveling food into your mouth, several sites point out, you know one thing: slowing down won't cause any harm.
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