Eating Slowly May Help Weight Control
Study Shows Eating Too Fast Blocks Hormones That Make You Feel Full
WebMD News Archive
Nov. 4, 2009 -- Eyeball your food a little longer if you're looking to shed
some pounds, because wolfing it down too fast may make you prone to overeat, a
new study shows.
So savor those aromas, relish the meal's presentation, and don't just dig in
like you've got to finish it off in a hurry, researchers report in The
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Eating a meal quickly puts the kibosh on the release of hormones in the gut
that induce feelings of being full, and this can lead to overeating, says study
researcher Alexander Kokkinos, MD, PhD, from Laiko General Hospital in Athens,
In short, eating too fast blocks the release of gut hormones that help make
you feel full, and thus you may overeat.
"Most of us have heard that eating fast can lead to food overconsumption and
obesity, and in fact some observational studies have supported this notion,"
Kokkinos says in a news release. "Our study provides a possible explanation for
the relationship between speed eating and overeating by showing that the rate
at which someone eats may impact the release of gut hormones that signal the
brain to stop eating."
Previous studies have shown that the release of gut hormones after a meal
acts on the brain and induces feelings of fullness and satisfaction, the
researchers note. But until now, they say, concentrations of
appetite-regulating hormones haven't been studied in the context of different
rates of eating.
In the study, 17 healthy men consumed the same test meal, 300 milliliters
(about 10 ounces) of ice cream, at different rates during two separate test
sessions. The duration of one meal was five minutes and the other was 30
The researchers took blood samples and measured levels of different gut
hormones before the meal and at 30 minute intervals after eating began until
the study session ended 210 minutes later.
The scientists conclude that "eating at a physiologically moderate pace
leads to a more pronounced anorexigenic gut peptide [appetite reduction]
response than eating very fast."
The notion that eating quickly leads to weight gain used to be considered
"an old wives' tale," the researchers say, but their study suggests there is
some truth to it.
"Our findings give some insight into an aspect of modern-day food
overconsumption, namely the fact that many people, pressed by demanding working
and living conditions, eat faster and in greater amounts than in the past,"
Kokkinos says in the news release. "The warning we were given as children that
'wolfing down your food will make you fat' may in fact have a physiological