You might want to start eating slowly and chatting more with your family or friends during mealtimes from now on. Researchers from the National Institute of Health Science and Fukuoka University in Japan found that eating quickly, as well as eating right before bedtime, significantly increases the likelihood of obesity.
But it's not just your waistline you should be worried about—your overall physical health is affected, too. You up your chances of getting nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) too, which increases the likelihood of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease. NAFLD is common, and usually shows no signs and complications until the fat accumulates in the liver, scarring or destroying it.
In the study, participants who ate before bedtime but ate slowly were more than twice as likely to develop NAFLD and obesity. But those who ate before bedtime and did it quickly were 2.5 times more likely to develop them.
So what does eating speed have anything to obesity? For one, according to Kathleen Melanson, PhD the longer the food stays in your mouth, the more your brain feels satisfied, making you think you're full. That'll make you less likely to eat more, hence reducing your calorie intake.
Another connection is with the blood sugar levels. When you eat slowly, your blood sugar rises in a moderate or controlled way. That'll keep your energy levels high throughout the day. If you shove spoonful after spoonful of food into your mouth, your blood sugar will spike and then plummet, causing a drop in your energy levels—that'll make you hungry again in an hour or two.
So how slow should we eat? Well, there's no specific time, since that would also depend on what you're eating. But Melanson suggests chewing your food well enough that they're no longer chunky before swallowing; then waiting until you feel the food hit your stomach before having your second scoop.
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