It’s not just the foods on your plate that affect your body, but how quickly that food disappears.
In a study, Japanese researchers documented 1,083 adults for five years, splitting them into three groups: slow, normal, and fast eaters. At the start of the study, none of the volunteers had metabolic syndrome—meaning at least three risk factors including abdominal obesity, low ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, or high blood sugar.
After five years, the participants reported back, and 84 were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome—and their eating speed was a major predictor, according to results in the journal Circulation.
Fast eaters were at 89 percent higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome compared to slow and normal eaters; 2.3 percent of slow eaters got the same diagnosis.
Additionally, fast eaters saw more weight gain, wider waistlines, and higher blood sugar levels than the grazers. One reason could be eating fast results in blowing by that feeling of fullness before your body signals you to stop.
“When people eat fast, they tend not to feel full and are more likely to overeat,’ said Takayuki Yamaji, MD, study author and cardiologist at Hiroshima University in Japan in a statement. ‘Eating fast causes bigger glucose fluctuation, which can lead to insulin resistance.’
Past research advocates for eating slow, too. A study of New Zealand women found fast eaters have higher body-mass indexes; this Chinese study suggests men would eat less if they slowed their chew rate to 40 times instead of 15 before swallowing food.
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