According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical amount of time spent each day consuming foods and beverages adds up to one hour and eight minutes, while other reports suggest as much as two and a half hours a day. To accommodate our bustling schedules, we find ourselves cooking dinner, washing clothes, helping children with their homework and scheduling appointments all in one breath, and some treat meal time like an uninvited guest or interruption to their daily scheduled lives.
Eating too fast can cause indigestion or belching, as well as some serious health consequences including weight gain and higher blood glucose levels. Preliminary research by the American Heart Association evaluated 1,083 participants for five years. Compared to normal and slow eaters, fast eaters were at a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of interconnected irregularities, including high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, high triglyceride or low HDL levels.
Eating is not just about fueling your body, it’s a time to savor the flavor. Pleasant and calm should be the environment with minimal distractions. Habits can be hard to break, but new ones can be formed. Eating more slowly can improve weight control and digestion.
Tips for eating slow:
Rest your utensils on the table between bites.
Use smaller eating utensils to help slow down and prevent eating too much at once.
Eat with your non-dominant hand.
Don’t eat and drive.
Use small plates (less than 10 inches in diameter).
If possible, avoid eating at your desk or work area.
Take time to chew your food. Depending on the type of food, it should take anywhere between 20 to 40 chews per mouthful.
Try to avoid skipping meals. You may be more inclined to devour everything in sight during your next meal.
Engage your olfactory (where your sense of smell comes from) and visual faculties. Appreciate the array of colors and pleasant aromas of your food.
Written by: Nadine Brooks, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern. Learn more about the Wellness Workdays Dietetic Internship.
1. Huffington Post
2. Science Daily
3. Harvard Health Publishing
4. Food Network
5. U.S. Department of Agriculture
6. Harvard Health Publishing