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Do you eat until you feel yourself getting full?  How many times have you wolfed down food without really tasting it? If you answered yes, you’re not alone.  You probably ate more than you needed to because you didn’t take the time to recognize that you were full.   Most people will eat until they feel satisfied or full.  I wanted to give some food for thought and share some information that I found interesting and that may be helpful to others.

Did you know that when you eat until you feel full that you probably have had too much to eat? Eating fast can cause you to eat more than is actually neccesary to satisfy your hunger and consume extra calories in the process (without you knowing it).  When we eat it takes time for the brain to get the message from your body that your stomach is full. The opinions on the amount of time it takes for your brain to get the signal varies among experts but there seems to be a popular opinion on about 20 to 30 minutes. It seems that alot of our lives are fast-paced and our eating habits seem to be as well.  Based on the time it takes for your brain to actually realize you are “full”, if you are eating quickly then there is a good chance you may be eating too much.  Savoring every bite is not only the key to enjoying your food, it may also help keep your weight in check.

A study of 30 women found that when the women ate slower they consumed less calories. In this study the women were given 2 pasta meals. The first meal they were instructed to eat as much as they wanted quickly and the second meal to eat as much as they wanted at a slower pace. When the women consumed the food at a slower pace they ate about 70 less calories and remained with a feeling of fullness an hour after completing the meal. The women also made remarks on ejoying the slower paced meal more.

Improve Digestion

Eating slower and properly chewing your food may improve your digestion as well.  Digestion starts in the mouth or the brain, depending on how you look at it.  Before you even take your first bite and your senses realize you are about to eat the brain sends a message for the salivary glands to prepare for food and the saliva starts flowing.  The more you chew and break down the food into smaller pieces, the easier the food is to digest and may make the nutrients become better absorbed by your body. So it might not hurt to slow down a little, relax and start enjoying your meal a little more.

With everyone being extremely busy and it always seeming like there’s never enough hours in a day, I know it may not be possible to sit down and “enjoy” a meal often.  For the people that fit into this category, is it possible to have a nice slow-paced meal occasionally? I think it may help to relieve a little stress, give you an opportunity to spend some time with friends and family (or just have a little “me-time”) and you may even enhance your health a little.

Weight Management

Eating slower may be a simple but effective way to manage weight gain and even help us lose weight, according to research from the US.  New studies by the University of Rhode Island have found heavier people eat faster than slimmer people.  A laboratory study found people who eat faster polish off about 88 grams of food per minute.  Slow eaters consume 57 grams of food per minute – more than a third less.

Researchers also found people with a high body mass index (BMI) eat faster than people with a low BMI.  “It takes time for your body to process fullness signals, so slower eating may allow time for fullness to register in the brain before you’ve eaten too much,” says Kathleen Melanson, associate professor of nutrition at the University of Rhode Island.

Similarly, research at Osaka University in Japan studied the eating habits of 3000 people and found men who ate fast were 84 % more likely to be overweight.  Fast-eating women were twice as likely to be overweight compared with women who ate slowly.

Quick tips for slower eating:

Have teaspoon-sized mouthfuls of food.
Have water with your meal and take a sip before each bite.
Put down your utensils in between bites.
Count your chews. Chew 15-20 times.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Include wholegrain foods in your meal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Don’t skip meals.



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