A previous study, by experts at North Carolina State University in the USA, found "mindful eating" - savouring every mouthful, concentrating on flavour and "eating with purpose" - helped people lose six times as much weight as other slimmers.
Study authors Haruhisa Fukuda and Yumi Hurst of Kyushu University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Fukuoka, Japan, confirm this hypothesis in their paper published in the journal BMJ Open.
Also helpful: Avoiding after-dinner snacks and eating anything in the two hours before you go to bed, the researchers said.
The Standard Health Check-up and Counselling Guidance Programme was used as a questionnaire to determine participants' eating speed and lifestyle habits. Eating quickly has previously been linked to impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, which can affect metabolism and fat-burning.
The results showed that 21.5% of the slow-eating group was obese, compared to nearly 30% of the normal-speed eaters and 45% of the fast-eating group. It is worth noting that in Japan a BMI of 25 or over is considered obese, whereas in the United Kingdom 25 to 29 is overweight and only 30 and above is considered obese. Because much of the research involved self-reporting, the scientists said that further study arch was needed to assess causes and effects when it came to obesity.
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The results correspond with other studies, which suggest that some people who tend to eat at a faster pace will gain more weigh and gain weigh over time. People who eat faster, skip breakfast, and eat midnight snacks have higher obesity risk.
Changes in these eating habits were strongly associated with lower obesity and weight - Body Mass Index (BMI), and smaller waist circumference, the researchers found. Compared to people who ate dinner within 2 hours of sleeping (at least 3 times a week), those who didn't were 10% less likely to be obese (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.86 to 0.94).
People who didn't regularly skip breakfast were also slightly less likely to be obese (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.87 to 0.97). If you are a quick eater, the following mindful tips around meal times can be useful: "focus on the food and not other activities such as TV or reading, eat with your less dominant hand, and try to chew each mouthful 30 times and focus on the flavours" she said.
If you're trying to lose weight, simply slowing down when you eat might make a difference. They observed their checkups over the years where those people were asked about their lifestyle and eating habits. "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 told The Guardian.