Medicine

Here's why you might want to linger over lunch to lose weight

Here's why you might want to linger over lunch to lose weight

Past studies have suggested you'll eat slower (and potentially lose weight) if you favour hard foods over soft ones; count every bite; wait 30 seconds between bites; chew everything you eat 40 times; and by actioning other tedious-sounding tricks. Next, the participants answered a set of questions about their eating speed ('fast", "normal' and "slow'), whether they had dinner within 2 hours of sleeping, but also habits concerning after-dinner snacking, skipping breakfast, alcohol consumption frequency, sleep adequacy and tobacco consumption".

Changes in these eating habits were strongly associated with lower obesity and weight (BMI), and smaller waist circumference, the researchers found. Around half of the total sample (just under 52 per cent) changed their eating speed over the course of the six years. And when compared with fast eaters, normal-speed eaters and slow eaters had reductions in waist circumference of 0.21cm and 0.41cm respectively, the authors found.

A recent study published in The Lancet medical journal reported that nearly a third of Irish children are now overweight and the country ranks 58th out of 200 countries for its proportion of overweight youths.

Other factors that could assist in losing weight, as per the data, includes not eating within two hours of going to bed and no snacking after dinner. This includes not skipping breakfast and limiting evening snacks. Similarly, eating slower was associated with reduced body mass index and waist circumference in a fixed-effects model.

Pauses targeted at lessening the eating speed may prove effective in preventing obesity and reducing the linked health risks.

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The latest study, published in the journal BMJ Open by researchers in Japan, looked at data collected though health checkups and claims from more than 59,700 individuals as part of health insurance plans, with data spanning from 2008 to mid-2013. People who made a decision to eat slower to lose weight, started losing weight during the study.

Leah Cahill, an assistant professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax who researches eating but was not involved in the study, says the results are empowering. In addition, the researchers did not track how much the participants ate or whether they engaged in physical activity. Those who said they eat slowly fared even better.

"It is certainly not appropriate to extrapolate from these observations to conclude about eating speed and the development of obesity - however attractive the idea that fast eaters are likely to eat more, and that eating more leads to weight gain", he said.

They believe that fast eaters weigh in higher than their slow counterparts as it takes around 20 minutes for the brain to receive the message is the stomach is full.

Katarina Kos-an obesity researcher-Exeter Medical School said that similar research needs to be conducted in non-diabetic people for learning the potential of the diabetes medication in weight loss or gain.


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