According to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association people who eat slowly are less likely to become obese, or to develop metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes and stroke risk factors.
A metabolic syndrome is a combination of abdominal obesity (or belly fat), high blood pressure, high blood sugar and a high cholesterol level.
In 2008, Japanese scientists at the Hiroshima University already did research on the eating habits of more than 1.000 Japanese. Therefore, they recruited 642 men and 441 women who didn’t have a metabolic syndrome at the beginning of the study. The participants were divided into three groups depending on their usual eating speed: slow, normal or fast.
After five years, the researchers found that fast eaters are more likely to develop a metabolic syndrome than slow eaters. 11.6 percent of the fast eaters developed the syndrome, contrary to 2.3 percent of the slow eaters. Fast eating was also associated with weight gain, a bigger waist and higher blood sugar.
Cardiologist and lead researcher Takayuki Yamaji explains: ‘People who eat fast, tend not to feel full and are more likely to overeat. Eating fast causes bigger glucose fluctuation, which can lead to insulin resistance.’
Spokesperson of the American Heart Association and cardiologist Nieca Goldberg says that the results don’t come as a surprise. ‘When you eat slowly, you’re much more aware of your eating. You’re chewing your food properly and you’re also slowing down digestion. A meal should at least take 30 minutes.’
‘And eating while working is among the worst things you can do’, so says Goldberg ‘If you eat at your desk, don’t answer your emails at the same time. And if you tend to eat fast, try to slow down by cutting your food into smaller pieces, chewing more, putting your fork down between two bites or to eat in company.’
The American Heart Association is an information and exchange platform of cardiovascular disease that is also dedicated to heart disease prevention. The non-profit organization is similar to the Belgian Cardiologische Liga.
Source: Hiroshima University, Time