It might be a surprise to you, but one of the easiest ways lose weight is to eat slower and to chew more thoroughly! Overweight and obese people tend to eat faster than leaner people. A recent report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has analyzed 22 experiments on the effect of eating speed and calorie intake. Overall the studies found that people consume significantly less food when they eat more slowly. In addition, slower eaters felt satisfied with less food, showing no more reports of being hungry a few hours afterward.
I can think of several explanations for this:
- Slow eating allows the satiety hormones (like leptin and insulin) adequate time to signal the brain that you’ve had enough to eat. This generally takes about 20 minutes.
- Eating more slowly increases the “oral sensory experience.” You can be more aware of tastes, smells, and textures of food when you’re not wolfing down your dinner.
- Taking smaller bites and chewing more thoroughly may signal the brain that you’ve eaten enough. Apparently we need about 40 bites or 400 chews for our brains to say “OK, you’ve had enough to eat now.”
Weight loss depends not only on choosing healthy, low-sugar foods and eating reasonable portions. It also depends on how you eat them. Eating slowly, chewing thoroughly, and enjoying the sensations of the food help tell your brain that you’ve had enough. Recommended reading: Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink.