A new study suggests that eating slowly can lower the risk of becoming obese, while keeping your Body Mass Index (BMI) in a healthy range. Reducing the eating speed also seems to act as a protective factor against non-communicable disease like type 2 diabetes.
It is not the first time a study finds an association between eating speed and numerous health benefits. Past studies have found that fast-eaters are more likely to get fat, get sick with the metabolic syndrome, and be diagnosed with acid reflux.
The findings which appeared in the medical journal BMJ Open were based on medical data on 59,700 Japanese patients tracked between 2008 and 2013. Participants agreed to answer questions on their diets, lifestyle choices, snack habits, frequency of breakfast in a week, and eating speed.
The study showed that 21.5% of people who took their time over their meals had been diagnosed with obesity. By contrast, around 30% of the people who ate at a normal speed and 45% of fast-eaters had the condition.
Slow-Eaters Have Healthier BMIs
The average BMI of the slow-eating group was 22. The BMI of normal eaters was 23.5, while the fast-eating group’s BMI was 25. The fast-eating group had also larger waistlines on average than their peers in the other two groups.
Researchers also found that the risk of obesity decreases exponentially if people stick to these four rules:
- they do not sleep deprive themselves
- eat slowly
- do not make a habit out of skipping breakfast
- do not go to sleep just after they’ve had dinner.
The research team also found that people who brought minor tweaks to their lifestyles like saying no to post-dinner snacks, eating slowly, and leaving a few-hour window between dinner and bedtime reduced their BMI.
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