Study says eat slower to stay slimmer

A woman who eats slow and prefers whole grains to refined grains is more than likely to be on the slimmer side, according to a new study from the University of Rhode Island.

Associate professor of nutrition at URI, Kathleen Melanson, headed up the study and presented her findings at The Obesity Society's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. last month, according to a press release from URI.

Self-reported eating rates in a laboratory study found that fast eaters ate 3.1 ounces of food a minute, and slow eaters ate 2.0 ounces of food a minute. Men also ate faster than women, but the fastest eating woman ate as fast as a man, both eating 3.1 ounces per minute.

A second study was done to examine the correlation between the body mass index (BMI) of the individual and their eating habits.

Melanson found that those with a higher BMI were more likely to eat the fastest.

"One theory we are pursuing is that fast eating may be related to greater energy needs, since men and heavier people have higher energy needs," Melanson explained.

All participants in the study, however, ate slower when they ate a meal of whole grains. Melanson believes that this is because whole grains take longer to chew due to their density.

This latest study supports what Melanson found a few years ago when she had some women eat a meal fast and other women eat slowly by chewing 15 to 20 times before swallowing.

Melanson's latest study has raised more questions that she intends to find answers to by arranging another study that will look at eating techniques.

"When you talk about eating rate, you have to talk about eating techniques. It's not just about how long it takes you to eat, but how you eat. We also want to recruit fast-paced eaters with a high BMI, teach them how to eat slowly, and see what role that might play in weight management," Melanson said.

Want to eat slow, but not sure how? Here are some tips from the TLC website to get you started:

  • Put your fork or spoon down between bites.
  • Relax before you begin to eat.
  • Have slow music playing in the background.
  • Try using chopsticks to eat.
  • Make sure you sit down while you eat.
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