Why is it healthier to eat slowly?
For some reason, many people in the modern, western world tend to eat their meals quickly. Sometimes this is because we’re busy, sometimes it’s because we’re super-hungry, and sometimes it just comes from habit. Regardless of why we do it, we do it. But as it turns out, it might not be a very healthy trend.
Eating slower boasts a myriad of health benefits, and can help us not only in losing weight, but also with digestion and meal satisfaction. When we begin a meal, our bodies begin the digestive process. First we salivate, which prepares our mouth and body for the process of digestion. After we take our first bite, it generally takes about 20 minutes for our brain and body to register that we’re full.
But if we eat too quickly, a number of things happen that impede these crucial processes. First off, we might not chew our food as well – which can contribute to indigestion. When our food hits our stomach improperly chewed, our digestive system needs to work overtime, and it takes longer to break the food down like it’s supposed to be as it moves through our system.
Eating faster also causes us to rush the body’s natural digestive process. If we eat and swallow too much food too fast, we get ahead of ourselves – forcing our body to catch up. This can lead to a number of problems, including indigestion and feeling ‘overstuffed’ by the time our brain registers that we should probably stop.
Eating fast can also impact your weight loss goals in a negative way
When we eat fast, we tend to rush through our meal and feel less satisfied with what we ate. This can cause us to want to eat more, even after we’ve eaten enough to be full. This is mostly due to the fact that our body still hasn’t had time to let us know that we’ve eaten enough. People who tend to fill up their plates more than once or move quickly onto dessert or a snack after they’ve eaten might be the best examples of this, as they will tend to eat more calories than people who slow down and take their time.
In truth, eating slower can really help to reduce your caloric intake. By savoring every bite and enjoying the flavor of your food at a slower pace, you’ll eat far less before your brain sends you the ‘you’re full’ message, which is usually what prompts us to stop eating.
People who take their time consume far fewer calories with their meals – and generally end up gaining less weight and feeling better about their meals after the fact.
Eating slowly is also healthy in other ways
Eating slowly gives you more sensing satisfaction than fast-eating does. Feeling full is different from feeling ‘satisfied’ with a meal – and in studies, it’s been shown that people who eat slower report feeling more satisfied with their meals than people who eat fast. It’s also been shown that people who eat slower feel less hungry for longer afterward than people who ate fast.
Eating slow also helps to improve digestion, and may help you to cut down on ‘dessert’ type snacks, like cookies, ice cream, or other types of junk food that may adversely affect your health and weight-loss goals.
Information! Another interesting fact about people who eat slower is that they tend to drink more liquids with their meals. If you drink water with your meal, then you’ll probably end up drinking more of it if you take breaks between bites – which can significantly impact your fluid intake in a positive way.
In fact, it’s been shown that drinking more water with meals could be a key to feeling fuller for longer – as some studies have shown that people who drink more water tend to feel full for longer after they’ve finished eating.
Water is, after all, a calorie free liquid – and it’s essential to keeping us hydrated. The body needs water to survive and thrive – but it might also be a key to weight-loss, because it takes up space without giving us any more calories or fat to add to our waistline.
Eating slower might take some getting used to if you tend to eat fast – but if you can manage it, you will see a number of positive benefits. To start with, try setting down your fork or spoon between each bite. This will force you to take small breaks, and will help you to be more aware of how much you’re actually eating. This simple change can often do a lot to help you consume your portion sizes in less time.
You might be surprised at how much better you will feel if you can cut your eating-speed down a little bit!