Most dieters try to lose weight by eating certain foods or by eating fewer calories.
But researchers have found that there’s another factor that may be more important than either of these for diet success.[i]
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.[ii]
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.
Speed Kills Diet Success
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.[iv]
“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.”[v]
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. When it ended five years later, 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 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 weight-loss method.
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.[vi]
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 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 increases the enjoyment you get from food while helping you maintain a healthy body weight. And researchers have found that it can also save you from metabolic syndrome.
Editor’s Note: If you’re trying to slim down, don’t fall for the calorie cutting myth. Calories don’t drive weight gain. Something else does. And it’s easy to control. Discover more by reading The Weight-Loss-for-Life Protocol.
It’s in Independent Healing, the monthly newsletter that deciphers the latest science to bring you unbiased medical information that can transform your health. Find out more HERE.