Can eating slowly actually help you lose weight?

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The latest study is not the first to suggest that taking a sedate pace at the dinner table could be beneficial: various pieces of work have hinted that those who eat quickly are more likely to be overweight, have acid reflux and have metabolic syndrome. After eliminating any factors that might influence a person's risk for obesity, the authors found that people who ate at a normal speed were 29 percent less likely to be obese, while the slowest eaters saw a 42 percent risk reduction.

The results indicated that the slow-eating group of four thousand one hundred and ninety-two had a smaller on an average waist circumference, a mean BMI of 22.3 and lesser obese individuals which makes 21.5 % of the total.

The findings were based on health insurance data for almost 60,000 people with diabetes in Japan who submitted claims and had regular health check-ups between 2008 and 2013.

No sleep loss, not skipping breakfast and not eating dinner two hours before bed were all associated with a lower BMI.

Skipping breakfast, however, did not seem to have any effect.

"Researchers measured the participants" Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference. So methods to help people reduce their eating speed, the authors conclude, could be an effective way to help prevent obesity and lower the many health risks, like diabetes, that come with it. Jay-Sheree Allen is a family medicine resident physician at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and a resident at the ABC News Medical Unit.

Around 52 per cent of people in the sample changed their eating habits over the six years.

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One of the main limitations of the study is that eating speed and other behaviors were reported by the participants and are therefore prone to subjectivity. Experts say that when we eat quickly, our bodies don't have time to register the hormonal changes that signal when we are full.

The participants had regular check-ups from 2008 to 2013.

Researchers suggest that fast eating is linked to reduced glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. Eating speed can affect changes in obesity, body mass index, and waist circumference in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online February 12 in BMJ Open. "The speed at which a lot of people wolf down their food is undeniably a contributor to obesity", he said (via The Guardian). In another study, people were asked to eat ice cream slower, which caused more of their gut hormones to be secreted, which made more people report that they were feeling fuller.

"In particular, workers who snatch their lunch at the desk are doing their health no favours".

'They should stop what they're doing, switch off their phones and emails and preferably take a half hour away from the office altogether'.

But he said that relying on the participants themselves to score whether they eat slowly, or fast, was "considerably subjective" and may skew the data.