Breaking: Eating Slowly Can Reduce Obesity
Written by: Emilyn Gil
Breaking: Eating Slowly Can Reduce Obesity
I remember always being the last one at the table as a kid. It didn’t matter whether we were eating mashed potatoes or pizza, I would eat it slow and steady until everyone else had left and I had the dining room all to myself.
It was probably because I knew if I took my time I might be able to avoid doing the dishes, but that’s beside the point.
These days it’s always cook quick, eat fast and rush back to my day. If it weren’t for the fact that I have to grocery shop every week I would begin to doubt if I had been eating at all.
But actually, there’s quite a few dangers in eating fast. And when it comes to avoiding obesity, taking your time to eat slowly is definitely the better option.
The Truth About Speed
The American Heart Association performed a research study in regards to metabolic syndrome and the speed at which people ate. They reached a stunning conclusion.
The people who ate the fastest were found to have a larger waistline and higher blood glucose levels and to gain more weight than those who ate slower. They also found that there was higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol and abdominal obesity.
If that doesn’t scare you into slowing down your meals, I don’t know what will.
What’s So Bad About Eating Quickly?
But really, why is it such a big issue whether a plate of spaghetti takes you 5 minutes or 45 minutes? It’s the same amount of calories, isn’t it?
Well my friend, although this is true, there’s a bit more to it than calories. In fact, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t be chugging or gobbling at the table.
All Of The Food, None Of The Nutrients
In order to benefit from all the nutrients and minerals that any plate of food has to offer, it has to be broken down by enzymes and absorbed into the blood stream. Your stomach, as we know, is an enzyme party great for breaking down foods. But enzymes are also found in your saliva. And if you let all your food just zip down your throat, you miss out on that extra enzyme time, which means those nutrients are more likely to pass through your body unused.
The Dreaded Indigestion And Heartburn
Like I mentioned before, the digestive process begins in the mouth. If you eat too quickly and don’t use that chewing time to help break down your food, you’re just giving your stomach more to do later. And if your stomach has a lot to do it’s going to use up a lot of energy that could have been better spent on other areas of the body.
Spending more time chewing can also help prevent you from swallowing air. Sending too much air down your throat causes your esophageal sphincter to open, which sends stomach acids up into your throat or chest. Who would have through a little extra chewing could save you so much pain?
Stretching is great for relaxing muscles and gaining more range of motion, but stretching in the stomach? Not such a good idea.
When your brain tells you that you feel “full” that’s actually exactly what has happened. Your stomach feels that it’s completely filled and sends a signal to your brain that it can’t hold anymore. But if you’re eating too fast, you might be able to fit in 5 more bites before this signal even reaches your brain. 5 more bites means that your stomach is now over-full and has to stretch to be able to fit the extra food. And since your stomach has stretched to a larger size, it will take longer for it to feel full the next time you eat and you’ll eat even more. And thus the weight gain begins.
How To Eat In Slow-Motion
Okay so you don’t necessarily have to eat in slow-motion, but you get the point. Here are 4 things you can do to train yourself to eat slower.
1. Take Time To Enjoy Your Food
I mean, of course you enjoy your food, who doesn’t? But I want you to enjoy your food like those models enjoy their yogurt on a yogurt commercial. Chew it. Savor it. Taste it. You can even let out a deep “Mmmmm mmmmm” after every bite if that helps. The more time you spend really savoring each bite, the slower you will eat and the more enjoyable your meal time will be.
2. Drink Water
Drinking water with your meals can definitely help you eat slower. You can even try taking a sip after each bite to really extend your eating time. And as an extra bonus, the water will help fill up your stomach and prevent you from eating too much!
3. Schedule Your Mealtimes
You know those days where it’s 3 PM, you haven’t eaten lunch and you still have way too much to do? So you grab a sandwich, swallow it whole and get right back to your day. It happens to all of us.
The best way to avoid this is to pencil mealtime into your schedule. Plan for 30 minutes, 60 minutes, however much time you need. Then add it to your list, put it on your calendar, set an alarm, whatever it takes for you to fit it in. Taking care of your health is just as important as everything else you have to do, because if you’re not feeling well, nothing is going to get done anyway.
4. Set A Timer
Sometimes you don’t realize how fast you’re eating until you actually time it. Before eating, set a timer for 20 minutes and try not to beat it. Force yourself to eat at a steady pace throughout the whole meal. If you find it too challenging, try counting how many times you chew each bite and then double it. You may be surprised at how hard it can be at first! But with time and practice you’ll get the hang of it.
Slow And Steady Wins The Race
We all know that weight gain depends on WHAT you eat, but we now know that equally important is HOW FAST you eat. So you can say goodbye to pie eating contests. Sorry.
Try out some of these tips and watch how not only your mealtime will change, but your waistline will change as well. And the best part is no matter where you are, there’s always a meal coming up so you can apply these tips RIGHT NOW! Let us know in the comments what tips have worked for you!
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Emilyn Gil is a 22 year old English Major at UVU. She started writing at age 6, and since then has won several awards including the Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Key and was featured in the Kolob Canyon Review in Cedar City. Aside from the written word, her other passions include performing in the occasional musical theater production, and playing piano, guitar, and ukulele. Some of her favorite pastimes are baking, napping, and spending time with family. She likes monkeys, homemade rolls, and the color yellow. She has traveled to Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, and Canada, and currently resides in Orem, Utah with her husband Jorge. You can find more of her work online at emilyaddn.blogspot.com or on Instagram at @emilyncan.
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