Are you going from zero to full... REAL QUICK?
How long does it take you to eat?
When was the last you timed how long it takes you to complete a meal?
Matter fact have you ever even considered the length of time it takes?
Not a socially practical thing I know, cannot imagine you pulling out a hour glass or stopwatch during a meal with friends or family. However when eating alone it's something to consider, as it can provide some useful and valuable feedback to improve your overall eating habits.
Unbeknownst to many the speed at which you consume your food can present challenges to performance, body composition, and health. This can be true no matter if it is high quality food or low quality food.
WHY SPEED MATTERS
At it simplest form eating slowly improves digestion. Digestion begins really before we put food in our mouths. However for the sake of this blog lets start in the mouth where enzymes and mechanical energy (chewing) breaks the food down before we swallow. Now if we swallow food prematurely due to poorly chewing the food, not only is potential choking an issue but so is passing the responsibility of the initial food breakdown off to the stomach. This forces our stomach and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract (GI) to deal with this food stuff before its been properly prepared. How does a side order of GI distress and irritation go with that meal? "I am sorry but I didn't order this." GI distress just sucks, in addition to the potential lack of absorption quality as a result of eating to fast. Poor absorption leads a host of other issues, but as you can see the problem can cascade into other areas.
So slowing down makes for a happier digestive process; at least on the front end where you have some control of the pace of how you eat.
Being aware or mindful of your satiety, satisfaction, or fullness is a critical skill in improving your overall relationship with food. Are you eating to physical capacity, where you have to loosen your draw string to make more room or there just isn't any more room? I sincerely hope not.
The time it takes for your gut to communicate to your brain and then back to gut is about 20 mins. So this means in order for your gut to sense satiety takes some time. Unless you reach physical capacity first, which isn't ideal. Eating slowly allows time for this process to take place which provides the feedback that you need to know you're full.
Slowing down gives you time to savor a meal, take stock of the tastes and textures, and be appreciative of each bite, your joy in your spirit… even if all you ate was a simple PBJ sandwich vs a super delicious rib-eye.
Research has suggested that slowing down can significantly reduce total food intake. In a University of Rhode Island study researchers examined how eating speeds affected the digestive process. The study found evidence consistent with advising people to eat more slowly, taking smaller bites, and chewing their food thoroughly is generally helpful for appetite regulation. When comparing the food consumption between the slow eaters vs the fast eaters it showed that the slow eaters ate 2 oz of food per minute. The fast eaters ate 3.1 oz of food per minute. This means for every minute a fast eater could consume more calories in the the same amount of time as a slow eater. Now a few days, weeks, and/or months this could add up to additional unnecessary calories.
Ultimately the take away message hear is that slowing down tends to lead to fewer calories eaten and allows for the ability to better tune in to hunger signals. Some benefits of slowing down include improved digestion, better performance, better sleep, and improved appetite awareness. Overtime this can have a significant impact on metabolism, weight management, or weight-loss.
In this fast-paced and microwaved world of eating on the go and quickly between obligations can influence the speed at which we eat. However with a little awareness and some practice we can slow down and take advantage of the the benefits it provides.
It's really a win win. By slowing down even just a little, can show lead to significant change. So start experiencing your food more by taking your time and being more cognizant. Eliminate distractions, chew more slowly, and place silverware down after each bite.
READY. SET. SLOW.
If you need help in any area as it relates to fitness and nutrition lets chat. You have questions I may have answers.
Yours in good health and spirit,
Andrade A, Kresge DL, Teixera PJ, Baptista F, Melanson K. Does eating slowly influence appetite and energy intake when water intake is controlled?. Int J Nutr Phys Act. 2012;9:135