Oct. 21, 2008 -- Looking to lose some extra weight? Eating more slowly and stopping before you're full might help.
A new study shows that fast eaters who eat until they're full may be three times more likely to be overweight than slow eaters who stop eating before they're full.
That study appears in BMJ, formerly called the British Medical Journal.
Nearly 3,300 Japanese adults took part. They reported how quickly they eat and whether they usually eat until they're full -- and they got their height and weight measured.
Most participants weren't overweight. Their average BMI (body mass index, which relates height to weight) was normal.
The odds of being overweight were three times greater for people who reported eating quickly and until full than for people who ate slowly and pushed the plate away before they felt full.
The findings held regardless of factors including participants' age and whether they were said they got regular physical activity. But other factors may have played a role, note the researchers, who included graduate student Koutatsu Maruyama and Hiroyasu Iso, MD, of Osaka University.
The study only included adults, but it's a good idea to start mellow eating habits in childhood, according to an editorial published with the study.
The editorial encourages parents not to push children to eat more, but to feed their kids in a way that "acknowledges a child's desire to stop eating," starting when the child is a baby. "Well children don't starve," write the editorialists, who included Elizabeth Denney-Wilson, PhD, MPH, a research fellow at Australia's University of New South Wales.