This Study Suggests A Simple Trick To Help You Lose Weight

A study in the BMJ Open suggests that the key is in eating slower to lose weight.

Compared to those who wolfed down their food quickly, those who ate at a normal speed were 29% less likely to be obese.

The study used data from health checks with 59,717 Japanese people who had type 2 diabetes.

Other habits the researchers looked at - including whether people ate or skipped breakfast, and how much sleep they got - did not appear to have a significant impact on weight.

Each person was quizzed on their eating speeds, telling the researchers whether they either ate at a fast, normal, or slow speed.

The data also pulled out two other habits that might increase the odds of obesity: eating dinner within two hours of going to sleep, and snacking after dinner. Similarly, eating slower was associated with reduced body mass index and waist circumference in a fixed-effects model. Reducing the eating speed also seems to act as a protective factor against non-communicable disease like type 2 diabetes.

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The team also noted changes in eating speed over the six years, with more than half the trial group reporting an adjustment in one direction or the other. Compared with the fast eaters, the slow eaters and normal eaters had lower odds for obesity (P .001 for both).

However, they cautioned that people who took part in the study were "relatively health-conscious individuals" who voluntarily participated in health check-ups, so the findings may have "limited applicability to less health-conscious people".

If you want to shed some pounds without changing what you eat, try changing how you eat. Among those who reported eating at "normal" (56%) or "fast" (37%) paces, being overweight was more prevalent at 36.5% and 44.4%, respectively.

Leah Cahill, an assistant professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax who researches eating but was not involved in the study, says the results are empowering. By eating too fast, people may not give this intricate hormonal system the needed time to tell the brain that the stomach is full. Eating speed can affect changes in obesity, body mass index, and waist circumference in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online February 12 in BMJ Open.

Observational studies can demonstrate links between factors such as eating speed and obesity, but they cannot prove that one factor (such as eating quickly) directly causes another (such as obesity). According to him, "it is probably due to the signals sent by the digestive system that communicates to the brain that we are satiated in time to limit the amount ingested". Commenting on the research, Simon Cork of Imperial College London said it "confirms what we already believe, that eating slowly is associated with less weight gain than eating quickly". Fast eaters may also continue to scarf down food even after they've consumed adequate calories, the study authors write in their paper, whereas slow eaters might feel full on less food overall.

  • Myrtle Hill