Research has found that reducing your eating speed may be an effective strategy for preventing obesity and lowering associated health risks. Several eating habits were identified that were associated with improved health outcomes, specifically with obesity and waist circumference. Individuals who were slow eaters tended to be healthier and have a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, normal eaters were 29% less likely to be obese and slow eaters were 42% less likely to be obese when compared to fast eaters. Researchers have found that slow eaters tend to eat less calories per meal, feel full more quickly, and spend more time enjoying their food, therefore are satisfied with less.
Several various eating habits were strongly associated with lower obesity: slower eating speed, cutting out after dinner snacks, and not eating within 2 hours of bedtime. Adopting these three eating habits may help lower obesity and weight (BMI), and lead to a smaller waist circumference. Not eating dinner 2 hours before bedtime was associated with a 10% reduced risk of obesity, while not snacking after dinner decreased the risk of obesity by 15%. Another potential effective intervention for eating slower and reducing obesity is mindful eating. Mindful eating develops your awareness of eating habits and allows you to pause between triggers and actions. Additionally, this practice can also be used to help reduce emotional or stress eating.
While these findings come from an observational study, they provide promising results on the importance of healthy eating habits. Adopting the eating habits of eating slower, not eating dinner 2 hours before bedtime, and not snacking after dinner may help improve health outcomes and decrease obesity. These findings were particularly significant for those with Type 2 Diabetes. The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help by providing nutrition consultations specific to your health goals that help provide education on health eating habits. Further, we can provide behavior change techniques to help you adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors and habits.
By Matt Lewandowski
Sources: Hurst, Y. & Fukuoka, H. (2018). Effects of changes in eating speed on obesity in patients with diabetes: A secondary analysis of longitudinal health check-up date. BMJ Open, 8(1), e019589.; Eating more slowly can help weight loss. Nicky Broyd, Medscape ,Feb. 14, 2018.