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Originally published October 26 2008

Eat Too Fast And You’ll Pack On Pounds, Scientists Find

by Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor

(NaturalNews) A study just published in the British Medical Journal ( concludes that eating too quickly and until you feel full triples the odds you'll be fat. In fact, the research suggests food that is literally "fast" – grabbed often on the run and eaten until you feel totally stuffed – could be contributing to the world-wide obesity epidemic.

Professor Hiroyasu Iso of Japan's Osaka University and colleagues recruited over three thousand Japanese men and women between the ages of 30 and 69 and followed their eating habits from 2003 to 2006. The research subjects kept a diary showing how much time they spent eating their meals and if they ate until they felt full. The researchers found that almost 51% of the men and just over half of the women said they ate until they felt stuffed. Slightly less than half of the men and a little over a third of the women reported eating quickly. When the scientists looked at the weight of those participates who ate both fast and until they felt filled up, they discovered those people were three times more likely to be overweight than the participants from the "not eating until full and not eating quickly" group. The scientists conclude that a combination of gobbling meals too fast and eating until you physically feel full has what they dub a "supra-additive effect" that increases the risk of being overweight.

The report notes that in past decades most adults did not have the opportunity to consume enough food to enable excess calories to be stored as fat. Today, however, inexpensive fast food is widely available in larger "super sized" portions and fewer families eat together at a leisurely place. What's more, it's common for people to mindlessly eat while distracted and watching television.

In an accompanying editorial Elizabeth Denney-Wilson from University of New South Wales and Karen Campbell from Deakin University in Australia urge doctors to encourage parents to serve appropriate portions of food and to build healthy eating habits in their children by teaching their youngsters to eat slowly. They also suggest that families get back to the "old fashioned" way of eating meals, sitting together in a non-distracting environment instead in front of the TV.

The new study backs up earlier research showing that eating too fast is one reason people pack on extra pounds. Last year, scientists at the University of Rhode Island found that when women research subjects took about 30 minutes to eat a meal, they ate 10% less than their counterparts who ate quickly. In addition, the women who ate slowly reported enjoying their food more. The researchers concluded that just eating slower could save a typical person about 1,400 calories a week. They suggested that chewing food slowly may actually spur chemicals in the brain that tell you when you've had enough.

Five ways to eat more slowly for health and weight control:

1. Take the time to enjoy your food. Eat mindfully and savor how your food tastes.
2.Consciously chew your food more slowly. Don't gulp it down.
3.Put your fork down between bites.
4.Eat with friends and family whenever possible.
5.Don't do anything else when it's mealtime. Don't read, watch television or surf the internet.

About the author

Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA’s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic’s "Men’s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

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