July 8, 2008

Eating Slowly Reduces Calorie Intake

New research suggests that eating through smaller bites and at a slower pace can encourage people to actually eat less.

The new findings are the first to lend scientific proof to the long-recommended weight-control tactic that chewing slower can help people reduce their calorie intake and enjoy their meal more than when eating in a rush.

Researchers noted that women ate an average of 70 fewer calories when they ate slowly and chewed each bite thoroughly.

The theory has been that a leisurely dining pace allows time for the body's natural fullness signals to kick in, explains Ana M. Andrade and colleagues of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

A rushed meal could actually cause overeating, they said, because stomach distension and appetite-related hormones take time to tell the body that it's time to stop eating.

Besides allowing more time for the body's fullness signals to start working, savoring a meal's flavors, textures and aromas may help people feel more satisfied with fewer calories, Andrade's team added.

Andrade and colleagues gathered 30 women to eat a pasta meal on two separate occasions. During the first meal, women were instructed to eat as fast as the possibly could and without pauses between bites.

During the second meal, researchers told the women to take small bites, put their spoon down between bites and chew each mouthful 20 to 30 times.

Women ate nearly 70 fewer calories during the second meal, researchers said. They also reported feeling fuller and more satisfied after the meal.

Researchers said a second study in men and obese adults will be necessary to properly gauge the effects of a slower paced meal.


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University of Rhode Island

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition