Around holiday time, a common comment I hear is, “I cooked for 6 hours and we ate everything in 20 minutes.” Well, aside from the fact that there must be zero socializing at that holiday table, it seems to me that eating a couple thousand calories in 20 minutes is a little fast. Could you enjoy the food just as much by slowing down?
I started to look into the affects of slow versus fast eating and then tried a little experiment with some of what I learned. My experiment was with chocolate candy because it’s something I really like a lot.
Generally, I feel as if I have to eat three or four candies to be totally pleased.But recently I noticed that if I take a 10-15 min pause after two candies, I have significantly less or even no desire at all to eat the third one. This resulted in less consumption which, when speaking of candy, is a good thing.
I started wondering why this happens and began my research, which turned into learning the effects of slow eating.
- Portion control & Overeating prevention. When you eat slowly it is definitely hard to overeat. Slow eating little by little decreases the desire to eat, so you can stop eating before your plate is empty. It is suggested that it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to produce the hormones telling your brain that you are full.
- Weight control benefits. Slowly eating habit reduces the risk of becoming overweight. Recently Japanese researches found strong positive correlation between higher eating speed and obesity.
- It can’t hurt you. Slow eating doesn’t have any negative effects on your health, but can bring you a number of benefits without extra costs.
- Taste and enjoy your food. When you eat slowly, you end up tasting your food more. You will experience more of the flavors, textures and smells of the food you eat. At the same time this may become a small step to a more healthy diet. If you won’t like what you eat when you eat it slowly, probably the next time you will choose something of a better quality.
- Digestion. Eating slowly and chewing properly improves your digestion. It is well known that digestion begins in the mouth. The more we chew our foods, the easier it is to digest them.
- Heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux). Eating food quickly may cause a type of indigestion called gastroesophageal reflux.
And a tip for those who have difficulty maintaining slow eating pace. Take a forced pause shortly before your plate is empty. Switch over from your meal to some other activity for a short time (10-15min), e.g. make a phone call, or look through a newspaper. When you return to your dish, probably you won’t continue eating or at least the chances you will empty the plate are very small.
Written by Christine Simmons, contributing authour for HealthAssist.net.