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What Are the Benefits of Eating Slowly & Why Is Eating Too Quickly a Bad Habit?

By Rachel Nall

The rush and stress of today’s typical lifestyle might have you downing a meal one minute and heading to a meeting or class the next. If you are eating too fast, however, you might not be giving your brain time to catch up with your body, and the result could be that you eat more than you actually are hungry for. Understanding the benefits of eating slowly can mean you eat less, which can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Benefits of Eating Slowly

To achieve a sensation of feeling full, your body relies on two factors: hormones that signal your gut you are full and stretch receptors that indicate when your stomach has expanded to its capacity. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to fully register that you have eaten and feel full, according to “Whole Living.” A study in the July 2008 issue of "Journal of the American Dietetic Association" reports that eating slow reduces the amount of food you eat at mealtime and also increases your feeling of fullness.

Eating Too Much

When you eat slowly, your body naturally can react to the amount of food in your stomach, but eating too quickly can cause you to overeat in an effort to quell you appetite. This can cause you to feel too full or uncomfortable after eating quickly. Additionally, eating too fast causes you to take in more calories than you need, which can cause you to gain weight, according to a study in the May 2006 issue of "Journal of Epidemiology."

Bloating Side Effects

Bloating can occur when you add excess air to your stomach, causing your stomach to feel larger or uncomfortable than it usually does. One of the problems with eating quickly is that it introduces excess air into your digestive tract. Also, you have a tendency not to chew food as thoroughly when you eat quickly. This can cause larger pieces of food to become trapped in your stomach, which might give you the sensation that food is sitting uncomfortably. There are experts that oppose this view, however.

Solutions and Fixes

If you have a tendency to eat quickly, learning how to eat more slowly can take practice. For example, you can try putting your fork down between bites, this can help to extend the amount of time you eat. You also will want to create a quiet atmosphere by turning off the television or any other distractions that might be interfering with your ability to concentrate on eating slowly. As you eat, focus on the tastes of your food and enjoying them, which can help you eat more slowly

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