Can Eating Slowly Lead To Weight Loss?
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If you’re trying to lose weight, how fast you’re eating could be as important as what you’re eating and when you eat your meals.
Can eating slowly prove to be the “magic pill” of weight loss?
What is Leptin and Leptin Resistance?
When it comes to satiety, a full stomach isn’t the only indicator. Scientists believe that for the brain to register satiety, it also has to receive signals from certain hormones released by the gut.
One of these hormones is called Leptin. Leptin is produced by fat cells and signals satiety based on the body’s energy stores. The more body fat you have, the more leptin is produced.
Another hormone that affects appetite is Cholecystokinin (CCK). These are released by the intestines during a meal. Researchers believe that leptin "amplifies" CCK signals to enhance the feeling of fullness. It is also believed that leptine interacts with the neurotransmitter dopamine to produce a feeling of happiness or pleasure after eating.
Obese and overweight patients actually do have excessive amounts of leptin. The problem is despite having extra amounts of leptin, obese people often have a signaling problem in their brains that leads to leptin resistance. When the brain doesn’t receive leptin signals, it falsely thinks that the body is starving. This results to overeating.
Scientists believe that leptin resistance is a major contributing factor to obesity.
Why Eating Slowly Can Lead to Less Calories
One study in Japan looked into the eating habits of 60,000 people with diabetes from 2008 to 2013. The researchers based their findings on health insurance data collected that included consultations, treatments, and lab tests. The participants were also interviewed about their lifestyle, eating, and sleeping habits.
Around 22,070 participants were identified as “fast eaters”, 33,455 participants ate at a normal speed and 4,192 participants were “slow eaters”.
They observed that slow eaters tended to be healthier and have a healthier lifestyle than those who ate at a normal and fast pace. Those who ate at a normal speed were 29% less likely to be obese and those who ate slowly and leisurely were 42% least likely to be obese. They theorized that eating too fast might not give hormones like leptin and CCK enough time to work.
It generally takes 20 minutes for the body to register satiety or the feeling of fullness after a meal. We recommend that you eat slowly, pause between spoonfuls and savor each bite. We also recommend that you drink more water during your meals. By doing so, you consume fewer calories when you eat and you give enough time for your body to feel full.
So while eating slowly isn’t the magic pill for weight loss that we had hoped, eating slowly combined with consuming fewer calories, abstaining from high fat and high carb foods, and exercise all contribute to safe weight loss.
When it comes to satiety, a full stomach isn’t the only indicator. Scientists believe that for the brain to register satiety, it also has to receive signals from certain hormones released by the gut. It is believed that Leptin "amplifies" Cholecystokinin (CCK) signals to enhance the feeling of fullness and satiety after a meal. They theorize that eating too fast might not give these hormones enough time to work.
"Slow eating speed may be linked to weight loss" - BMJ Open, February 12, 2018
"Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster" - Harvard Health Publishing, October 19, 2010
"We Found Out If It Really Takes 20 Minutes To Feel Full" - Huffington Post, October 11, 2016
"Leptin and Leptin Resistance: Everything You Need to Know" - Healthline, December 4, 2018