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Are You a Speeder When It Comes to Eating?

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us move right along morning, noon and night. We know what it means to have a heavy foot on the pedal, but what about a “fast fork”? It's easy to eat fast in the morning as we hurry off to work. At lunch, burgers and fries might be devoured in front of the computer. In the evening, pizza in front of the TV can be another quick solution.  Researchers tell us the popular pattern of eating fast can sabotage our digestion and accelerate our weight. 

Digestion Stumbles

According to nutritionists, when food is gobbled, undigested portions upset the stomach and healthy nutrients are lost. Fast eating also increases the risk of acid reflux after meals, according to WebMD. Stomach acids trigger chest pain and heartburn as they go from the stomach to the throat.

Fast or Slow Eating Matters

A recent study in Japan of nearly 60,000 people found those who ate at a normal speed were 29 percent less likely to be overweight than people who gobbled their food. Individuals who ate slowly were 42 percent less likely to become obese.

The five-year study published in the BMJ medical journal was based on health insurance data for 60,000 people with diabetes.  Patients were asked if their eating speed was fast, normal or slow. They were also asked if they ate dinner two hours before going to sleep, snacked after dinner or skipped breakfast several times each week.

The researchers tied eating quickly to weakened glucose tolerance and insulin resistance which points to diabetes. They advised:

  • Eat slowly to hold weight down
  • Skip after dinner snacks
  • Stop eating two hours before bedtime

How to Slow Down and Thrive

Echoing the message of the researchers, nutritionists say we should slowly chew each mouthful of food to a watery grassy consistency, which helps pre-digest the food before it reaches the stomach. They advise focusing solely on the food and eating with others.

That could be a cue to shut down the computer, turn off phones, and plan a dinner for family and friends. Healthy dining might start with a salad buffet followed with veggie pizza or black bean tacos, and finished with fruit tarts. A regular pattern of leisurely meals with good conversation might go a long way to making food fun again, minus the heartburn and extra weight.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Monrovia, Calif.

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