When I was in high school, there was this student who was always the last to leave the refectory. He would usually take his time to savour mealtimes not minding if others were rushing to get to the lecture hall on time. Because most of us usually ate on the run, we could gulp down our breakfast or lunch in less than five minutes.
Infact the faster we ate the smarter we thought we were. I had this friend who I thought had a refrigerator in his mouth. No matter how hot the meal was, before you could take two spoonfuls, he was done!
Eating meals too fast may not have meant anything to us back then but a recent research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017 says that fast eaters are more likely to get obese or develop metabolic syndrome, both of which increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
The link between eating quickly and becoming unhealthy has been known for a while. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness.When you eat quickly it doesn’t allow ample time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are full unlike leisure eating. And feeling full translates into eating less.
Researchers from Hiroshima University in Japan followed up 642 men and 441 women over five years, identifying them as either slow, normal or fast eaters. They found that fast eaters were 11.6% more likely to have developed metabolic syndrome – defined as having any of three risk factors linked to diabetes and heart disease.
Dr Takayuki Yamaji, a cardiologist at Hiroshima University in Japan, said: “Eating more slowly may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome. When people eat fast they tend not to feel full and are more likely to overeat.
“Eating fast causes bigger glucose fluctuation which can lead to insulin resistance.”
A previous study by experts at North Carolina State University, found ‘mindful eating’ – savouring every mouthful, concentrating on flavour and ‘eating with purpose’ – helped people lose six times as much weight as other slimmers.
They found overweight people who followed the ‘mindful eating’ mantra lost four and a half pounds (2kg) in 15 weeks, compared to other slimmers who just lost just two thirds of a pound (0.3kg).
Studies have shown faster eaters may also get more acid reflux than slower ones.
For weight watchers when next you are at the table take time to savour the meal through mindful eating since eating too fast is bad for your health.