New Study Shows That Children Who Chew Slower Can Prevent Weight Gain

Young Girl Dining Al Fresco

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By Justin Cowart

slow-it-downIf children can wait 30 seconds in between their bites of food, they can then begin to realize that they are no longer hungry before they overeat, helping to prevent excessive weight gain.

This was the conclusion of a recently published study done by the journal Pediatric obesity. The team that made up the researchers included bioengineers from the University of California in San Diego.

Department of Bioengineering at UC San Diego’s co-author Marcos Intaglietta said,“To lose weight, you need to stop eating. But it’s not that simple for most people. So we decided to investigate how effective eating slowly would be.”

The bioengineers worked side by side in collaboration with physicians that were from the National University of Mexico.

From the Laboratory of Research in Experimental Medicine at the National University of Mexico, Dr. Ruy Perez-Tamayo stated that, “Our method focuses on preventing weight gain. It is simple, inexpensive and easy to follow.”

The goal of the study was to minimize the different amounts of food that children ate before their stomachs finally sent information to their brains telling them that they were no longer hungry, an effect known as the “satiety reflex.”

This signal typically takes around 15 minutes or so to actually kick in. In our modern society, however, whole meals can typically be consumed in much less time, according to the researchers.

This recent study is the first of many clinically controlled trials to test just how effective eating slowly can be for better detecting that feeling of satiety and the ability to lose weight.

The study monitored the eating habits of 54 different children from ages 6 to 17 in the city of Durango, Mexico over the course of a year.

They were divided into two different groups: those who ate slower as instructed by the researcher (the compliant group) and the participants that didn’t (the non-compliant group). These two groups were then compared to a control group.

The results of the research were striking, to say the least. The weight of the students that were in the compliant group decreased from 2 to 5.7% just after six months and a total of 3.4 to 4.8% after the one year mark.

On the other hand, the weight of the students that were in the non-compliant group actually increased in weight by 4.4 to 5.8% just after 6 months and 8.3 to 12.6% after the year. The weight of the students in the control group even increased by a total of 6.5 to 8.2 percent after the one year study.

“The slow eating approach has the advantage of being sustainable over the long term, unlike most diets,” said the co-author and bioengineering professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at Uc San Diego, Geert Schmid-Schonbein. “It doesn’t deprive you of your favorite foods and it can be applied in any cultural and ethnic context

“You can adopt this slow eating approach for yourself and keep it up for the rest of your life,” Schmid-Schonbein continued. “You can teach this approach to your children and they can teach it to their children in turn.”

The research team helped the students to avoid overeating by teaching them to simply chew each bite for 30 seconds before they would take the next bite. The researchers did this by giving each student  a small hourglass that would empty in 30 seconds. The students were instructed to eat a bit and then flip over the hourglass and not take another bite until their hourglass once again emptied.

The researchers also decided to instruct the students to drink a glass of water right before each meal to help them avoid snacking between meals. This new approach was then dubbed the Good Manners for a Healthy Future.”

Bioengineering professor from the University of California, Pedro Cabrales, stated that,

“The hourglass made it more like a game. We also noticed that the children kept each other accountable. If some forgot the hourglasses, the others would remind them.”

The results of the study were so promising that the Mexican states of Michoacan, Yucatán and Veracruz were to be invited by the researchers to bring the study’s new methods into their respective schools.

This study really is amazing, isn’t it? I mean, think about it, all the study did was show all of us that if you choose to slow down and eat your meals instead of always being in a hurry to get it down, your overall weight and health can improve drastically.

We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas about this study in the comments below!


Sources: Jacob’s School News/Youtube, Science Daily

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Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart

Justin Cowart is a writer and researcher that loves to learn more about health, life, consciousness and making the world a better place. He loves music, traveling, meditation, video games and spending time with family and friends. He believes in baby steps and lifestyle changes in order to live a full life. In 2014, he lost around 40lbs from baby steps and emotional detoxing.
Justin Cowart


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