Here’s an easy tip that may help with weight control: Eat more slowly.
In a recent Japanese study in BMJ Open, researchers looked at health data from nearly 60,000 people with type 2 diabetes, which included information about eating speed. Compared to fast eaters, slow eaters were 42 percent less likely to be overweight, while normal-speed eaters were 29 percentless likely to be overweight, after controlling for age, gender, use of diabetes medicine, and obesity status at previous check-up.
Slow and normal eaters also had smaller waist circumferences. Moreover, participants who reported decreasing their eating speed over the six-year observation period showed reductions in weight.
As the researchers explained, “eating slowly may help to increase feelings of satiety before an excessive amount of food is consumed.” In contrast, fast eaters consume more food before satiety signals reach the brain (this generally takes about 20 minutes).
It’s not clear if the findings generalize to the general public, since the study included relatively health-conscious people volunteering for health check-ups—but much previous research supports the idea that eating speed plays a role in weight control. Eating quickly has also been associated with impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance.
A version of this article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see 18 Keys to Healthy Weight Loss.