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The Benefits of Eating Your Food Slowly

The Benefits of Eating Your Food Slowly

Chewing your food allows you to savor your meal and signal to your brain that you’re full so you don’t overeat.

Chances are, you were told as a kid to chew your food slowly so you didn't choke. Well, now there’s a new reason to chew your food. Eating fast makes it more likely you’ll be obese and develop health problems, like diabetes and heart disease that are associated with metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by having any three of these conditions: abdominal obesity, high-fasting blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and/or low HDL cholesterol.

In a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017, researchers followed more than 1,000 adults for five years. At the beginning, none had metabolic syndrome.

Five years later, they found that fast eaters were almost 12 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, compared to 6.5 percent for normal eaters and 2.3 percent for slow eaters. Faster eating was also linked to greater weight gain, higher glucose levels and a larger waistline.

So, chew more slowly and wait longer between bites. Then, your appetite-suppressing hormone (leptin) has a chance to kick in and help you eat healthfully. Sharecare, a free application for iOS and Android, makes it easy to track what you eat. Simply logging the quality and quantity of your meals each day can help you observe unhealthy eating patterns, so you can get back on track.

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

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