7 reasons why you MUST eat slowly

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Friday, 27 February 2009.
Tagged: eating mindfully, healthy eating, hunger, weight loss

7 reasons why you MUST eat slowly

Everything in our lives is fast - fast cars, fast trains, fast lanes, fast money, fast broadband and of course fast food. There's lunch on the run, dinner in under 30 minutes, 2-minute noodles, take-away to grab and run. Life is rushed and stressful.

When we finally grab a moment to eat, we bolt it down as quickly as we can. And multi-tasking whilst eating is the norm - we munch a sandwich at our desk, catch up with the news over dinner or read the paper over coffee and a muffin.

Now there's a new school of thought to re-train yourself to eat slow. Like the Slow Food movement that's supporting a return to traditional cuisine, it's part of the philosophy that food is special and should be enjoyed at leisure to bring out its full satisfaction and flavour.

If you eat at a leisurely pace, you'll enjoy your food more, have less problems with your digestion and force yourself to slow down. Your health and attitude to life will lift noticeably!

Eat slowly, eat less, enjoy more

Eating slowly is also one of the most successful techniques to help people lose weight. A recent US study of 30 women showed that eating slowly helped them to reduce food intake by around 275 kilojoules (66 cals) at each meal without any suffering. And eating slowly maximized their food satisfaction scores.

Research shows it takes 15 to 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that it's FULL, so this technique prevents you overeating without realizing it. It's simple. Here's how to practice it (Tip: it helps to do it by yourself the first time):

1. Sit down to eat and focus on the food in front of you - your goal is to savour each mouthful aiming to ‘extract' the maximum flavour and satisfaction.

2. Eat with a fork and knife, not your fingers.

3. Put the fork and knife down between each bite. Have a pause halfway through the meal and ask yourself: "How full am I now or do I need to eat more?".

4. Take small bites and chew well. Aim to chew each mouthful at least 5 times before you swallow.

5. While you're retraining yourself, don't eat in front of TV or while you read. It becomes ‘mindless eating' and you don't remember what you've eaten.

6. Don't eat while you walk or shop.

7. If you have to eat at your desk at work, clear aside a small spot and have your food there, keeping a distance from your computer or paperwork.

  • Slow eating is one way you can take a stand against life in the fast lane. It will make you feel less stressed, more relaxed and more in tune with your body. So make your next meal a slow meal and begin to enjoy life again.

Reference quoted:  Andrade A et al. Eating slowly led to decreases in energy intake within meals in health women, JADA 2008;108:1186-91.

Downloads / Fact Sheets

download1  Listen to your stomach - how to rate your hunger and fullness and learn when to STOP.

Save

Save

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby knows nutrition! She is an accredited nutritionist, food commentator, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Catherine Saxelby's Food and Nutrition Companion answers all those tricky questions on healthy eating, diets and supplements. It draws together a lifetime of advice and gives you all you need to know to eat right! It's a complete A to Z. A handy desk go-to reference.