Eating slowly helps people lose twice as much weight, a study has found.
Simply chewing each mouthful of food for 30 seconds led to study participants losing 5 pounds in weight over a six-month period.
In contrast, a control group who ate at their normal speed put on around 8 pounds.
There was no exercise or major diet change involved.
The slow eating approach works because it allows more time for the feeling of fullness to travel from stomach to brain.
Professor Schmid-Schoenbein, study co-author, said:
“You can adopt this slow eating approach for yourself and keep it up for the rest of your life.
You can teach this approach to your children and they can teach it to their children in turn.”
The study included 54 children aged 6- to 17-years-old.
They were told to chew each mouthful for 30 seconds and given a small hourglass to help them time it.
Professor Pedro Cabrales, study co-author, said:
“The hourglass made it more like a game.
We also noticed that the children kept each other accountable.
If some forgot the hourglasses, the others would remind them.”
The only other instructions given in the study were to drink a glass of water before a meal and avoid snacks between meals.
The results showed that children who ate slowly lost between 3% and 5% of their body weight in one year.
In comparison, a control group of similar children put on between 7% and 8% over the year.
Slow eating is effective because it gives more time for the ‘satiety reflex’ to reach the brain.
The message that the stomach is full takes around 15 minutes to arrive, but many people eat a whole meal quicker than this.
Dr. Ruy Perez-Tamayo, study co-author, said:
“Our method focuses on preventing weight gain.
It is simple, inexpensive and easy to follow.”
→ Explore PsyBlog’s ebooks, all written by Dr Jeremy Dean:
The study was published in the journal Pediatric Obesity (Salazar Vázquez et al., 2015).