I am a really bad offender in the category of “eating fast”. I believe this started by being the youngest of 3 boys and in order to get that last slice of pizza, fast eating of the first few slices was required. The seeds of my fast eating then extended to my time in medical school and residency when there was precious little time to eat a meal. Then, in private practice, when the model existed of running to a hospital to round on patients before coming to the office and then rounding after office hours once again similarly reduced eating time. Although I work many less hors now, I am still in the habit of eating fast.
So, the question: Does speed of eating impact on weight control? The answer is a resounding “YES”. The major reason: The sensation of feeling “full” often has a delay time of about 20 minutes from when food starts being consumed. When food is being eaten quickly, overeating often takes place before the satiety sensation takes effect.
Studies have shown that fast eating leads to an increase risk of developing obesity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, poorer digestion and less satisfaction from eating.
How to slow down? First and foremost is to be conscious of your own eating time. Place the fork down between each ingestion, taking time to savor the meal. Do not watch television or be in front of an I-phone or computer screen while eating as this distracted process will lend itself to very fast eating. Create an atmosphere that make eating a “dining experience”…light candles, soft music etc.
In this day and age of immediate gratification, heavier traffic on the roads and multiple distractions brought on by technology, it is quite easy to fall into the trap of gobbling down our meals. Let’s all slow it down.