Can the speed at which you eat affect your health?
A new study shows that people who eat fast greatly increase their odds of developing a common health condition that doubles their risk of early death.1
Scientists at Hiroshima University in Japan tracked the eating habits of 1,083 people for five years. During that time, subjects filled out detailed questionnaires about their lifestyle and eating habits, including speed of eating, physical activity, and medical history.2
The researchers divided participants into three groups: slow eaters, normal eaters, and fast eaters. By the end of the study, fast eaters were five times more likely than slow eaters to have developed metabolic syndrome.
Fast Eating Dramatically Raises Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Metabolic syndrome increases your risk of heart disease fourfold. It makes you 30 times more likely to develop diabetes.3
The syndrome is characterized by five risk factors:
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- High triglycerides
- Low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol
- Excess belly fat (waist size of 40 inches or more for men, 35 inches for women)
If you have three or more of these symptoms, you likely have metabolic syndrome. More than a third of Americans suffer from the condition.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people with metabolic syndrome have twice the risk of early death from a heart attack or stroke.4
“Eating more slowly may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome,” said Dr. Takayuki Yamaji, a cardiologist and lead author of the study. “Eating fast causes bigger glucose fluctuations, which can lead to insulin resistance.”5
The study found that compared to normal eaters, fast eaters were almost twice as likely to develop the syndrome.
None of the participants had any signs of metabolic syndrome when the study started in 2008. When it ended, 11.6% of the fast eaters had it. Only 6.5% of the normal eaters and 2.3% of the slow eaters had the condition.
Fast Eating Causes Weight Gain
The study also found that “eating speed was significantly correlated with weight gain.”
People in the fast eating group were 2.6 times more likely than normal eaters to have gained 22 or more pounds.
“When people eat fast they tend not to feel full and are more likely to overeat,” said Dr. Yamaji, who just presented his findings at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions conference in Anaheim, Calif.
Mindful Eating Stops Weight Gain
If you are a fast eater, try this proven method to slow your food consumption.
It’s not a diet. There is no calorie counting. In one study, women who tried this approach lost weight, reduced their belly fat, and lowered their stress levels.6
It’s called mindful eating. This practice approaches eating as a form of quiet meditation. You relax and focus on the smells, colors, flavors, and textures of your food.
5 Steps to Mindful Eating
- Follow the 20-minute rule.Before you start eating, set any kind of timer for 20 minutes. This is the minimum amount of time eating a meal should take. Your brain takes that long to recognize you are full and send satiety signals.
- Focus on your food.When you sit down to eat, you should be free of distractions. Turn off the TV. Put your cellphone or tablet out of reach. Don’t read at the table. If you’re eating with someone, eat silently for the first five minutes. When you do talk, try to keep the conversation focused on the meal.
- Eat like a food critic.They don’t rush through a meal. Instead, they savor and think deeply about the food they are eating. Study the visual qualities of the meal. Note the colors and textures of what’s on the plate. Concentrate on the aroma.
- Make your first bite small. Pay attention to the first flavors you experience. As you chew, note how the food feels in your mouth. The flavor of what you’re eating will change as you chew.
- Chew your food thoroughly. Chew each bite at least 10 times. Chewing begins the chemical process of digestion. Enzymes in your saliva break down the food. This helps food pass through your intestines and you feel fuller, quicker, making it easier to eat less.
Mindful eating not only lets you gain control of your eating habits—it could save you from metabolic syndrome and obesity.
Editor’s Note: Eating slower isn’t the only way to trigger serious weight loss. Discover the secret “switch” you can flip that tells your body to burn fat instead of store it… Get all the details HERE.
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