Does how fast you eat affect your weight?
The ability of the body to control energy intake may be affected by how quickly you eat – but it depends on your weight, new research suggests.
A team from the department of kinesiology at Texas Christian University analyzed how eating speed affects calories consumed in both normal and obese people. They also recorded information about the subjects' feelings of hunger and fullness during both slow and fast-paced meals.
Normal weight people benefit more from slow meals
The researchers noted that while other studies have examined the relationship between eating speed and weight, they have mostly included only normal-weight participants.
In the new study, all subjects - both obese and normal-weight individuals - were asked to eat one meal at a slow speed and one meal at a fast speed.
What the researchers found is that eating slowly does tend to reduce overall calorie consumption - but more so for normal-weight people. These individuals ate about 88 calories less than what they consumed during the fast meal, while obese patients only ate 58 fewer calories.
"Slowing the speed of eating led to a significant reduction in energy intake in the normal-weight group, but not in the overweight or obese group," said lead author Meena Shah.
Despite the differences seen in caloric consumption between the two groups, some similarities were noticed. For example, both groups reported feeling fuller longer after the slow meal. Additionally, both the obese and normal-weight subjects drank more water during the slow meal.
"The higher water intake during the slow eating condition probably caused stomach distention and may have affected food consumption," said Dr. Shah.
In general, the results suggest that hunger suppression might be more easily achieved after a meal that is eaten slowly and mindfully.
"Slowing the speed of eating may help to lower energy intake and suppress hunger levels and may even enhance the enjoyment of a meal," Dr. Shah concluded.
Results of the study are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.