The Case for Slowing Down Your Eating to Help You Lose Weight
While we’ve told you before that one of the main reasons why weight loss diets don’t work is the complex mechanisms in your body whose sole purpose is to keep you alive and everything running normally.
Yet, as complex as all those internal systems are, they’re still just one of the reasons why it’s difficult to lose weight healthily and sustainably. Weight gain can be also triggered or made worse by any one or more of hundreds of external factors.
These can include food being a refuge when you’re stressed, which leads to overeating; to the nutrition value of the foods we eat, which are often full of empty calories. Many of these internal and external factors are unrelated to each other, except for the fact that they all pack on the pounds.
If there’s one of those factors that crosses the line between external and internal, it is in the way we eat – literally how and when we eat our food. Yes, the speed at which you eat your meals, how long you take to chew your food and eating (or not eating) at certain times of the day can all have a significant effect on your weight.
Time.com recently reported the findings of a study published by the British Medical Journal. Based on data from almost 60,000 people, the study’s main focus was the effect of eating speed. The study also looked at other eating habits, including after-dinner snacking and eating within two hours of going to sleep, that had an effect on weight gain.
How Eating Too Fast Can Lead to Weight Gain
One of those internal systems we talked about that your body uses to keep everything running well is a signal that your brain sends to tell you that you’re full when you’re eating. Without the signal, you’d eat too much and cause all sorts of issues.
The problem is, the brain doesn’t send the signal until about 20 minutes after you start eating. So, if you scarf down way more food than you really need within that 20 minutes, your brain won’t do much to stop you.
While you probably don’t set out to eat as much as you can before your internal hunger clock runs out, if you’re a fast eater, you might unconsciously eat more than you need before your brain says ‘enough’.
Of course, unless you run a marathon right after dinner to burn off all those extra calories, your body stores them in fat cells to save them in case they’re needed later (which rarely happens because we are fortunate to live in Canada and usually have more than enough to eat).
The Proof is in the Numbers
The results of the study published on Time.com outline exactly how much that eating too fast can increase your weight. The study included the data of people from Japan who had type 2 diabetes.
Before the study began, over half the participants said they ate at a normal speed, about a third said they ate too fast and just 7% said they were slow eaters.
After studying the data, researchers came to the following conclusions:
- Those who ate at a normal speed were 29% less likely to be obese
- Those who ate at a slow speed were 42% less likely to be obese
- Comparisons of waist circumference, from the beginning of the study and the end of the study, showed that, while actual reductions were small, they were greater among the normal and slow eaters.
The study also found that people who didn’t snack after dinner at least three times a week, and those who didn’t eat dinner within two hours of bedtime, were also less likely to gain weight versus those who did those behaviours over the course of the study.
Again, fast eating is just one of a number of factors that can contribute to weight gain. To learn more, and to take positive steps towards better weight management, call or visit your nearest Herbal One Centre today.