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Slow Down Your Eating

Slowing down your eating is one of the most effective ways to enjoy food more and, if it is your goal, to eat less. Need proof? Here’s a summary of a brief article, “Not so fast” (Nutrition Action Healthletter, 5/14, p. 8, source: J. Acad. Nutr. Diet: 114: 393, 2014).

“Eating slowly may help you eat less. Scientists offered 35 normal-weight and 35 overweight or obese men and women a huge portion of the same lunch (pasta with tomatoes, olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic, herbs, and spices) on two separate occasions. On the ‘fast’ eating day, the participants were told to eat their lunches as quickly as possible without feeling uncomfortable, to take large bites and chew quickly, and to not pause or put down their utensils between bites. They typically finished eating in 9 minutes. On the ‘slow’ eating day, they were told not to rush, to take small bites and put down their utensils between bites. They typically took 22 minutes to eat.

The results: slower eating cut the calories from about 890 to 800 in the normal-weight people, but from only about 720-670 in the overweight or obese (which wasn’t a statistically significant difference). Both groups were less hungry after eating slowly.

What to do: Slow down, it takes time for your satiety hormones to kick in.”

Here are 10 easy ways to slow down your eating:
Always eating sitting down
When you sit down to eat, picture yourself doing it in slow motion and make a point of reminding yourself to stay relaxed
Take small bites
Chew a lot to release flavor from food and prepare it for digestion
Let food sit on your tongue for a bit because that’s where taste buds are
Don’t take the next bite until you’ve swallowed the one you’re eating and have counted 5 seconds
Put down food or utensils between bites
Look up from your plate and don’t hunch over it; sit up straight or lean back
Don’t talk while you’re eating or eat while you’re talking

Practice these steps at every meal. Eat without distraction and you’ll be able to eat more s-l-o-w-l-y. Tell yourself that it’s easy to slow down, not that it’s hard to do so.

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