Did you ever stop to think about how long it takes you to eat a meal? Your pace of eating may make a difference when it comes to your weight and how your food is digested. Eating too fast can cause you to consume extra calories leading to potential weight gain. Also, if you suffer from indigestion, slowing down your pace could reduce your symptoms.
Your brain is skilled at letting you know when you need to eat. It also lets you know when you are full. However, when you eat too fast you end up eating beyond your point of satiety. When you start to eat, your brain begins to receive hormonal signals that tell your brain that food is entering your digestive system. It takes around 20 minutes of receiving these signals before your brain is able to recognize that you are full. These hormonal signals continue to increase even after you stop eating. So, while you might not feel full at the end of meal, you may feel sated 10 to 30 minutes afterwards. These hormonal signals continue to stay elevated for a couple of hours, keeping you satisfied until it is time to eat again.
Eating more slowly allows your brain to let you know you have eaten enough food; ultimately you end up eating fewer calories. The University of Rhode Island studied 30 healthy women to compare slow and quick eating rates. Women who ate slower consumed 10 percent less calories and more water during their meal compared to the women who ate at a quicker rate. While the women who ate faster were found to have consumed more calories, they reported feeling less satiety and felt like they could eat even more food.
Another benefit to eating slower is improved digestion. Digestion starts in your mouth with increased saliva production that begins to break down food before it enters the stomach. When you eat food too quickly, food does not have time to be broken down properly, resulting in decreased absorption of important nutrients. Eating slower means you chew your food longer so that it enters the stomach already partially digested. Indigestion or other potential digestion issues can also be linked to eating fast since you have more food entering your stomach in a shorter amount of time.
Try taking the time to eat slower; you will begin to notice an increased awareness of what and how much you are eating. You will be able to savor the taste, colors, textures, flavors and smells of your food. This concept is known as mindful eating. Mindful eating involves ridding yourself of distractions while you eat since you are not as aware of how much food you consume when you are distracted. Learn to eat slower and enjoy the benefits.