When you sit down at the table, how do you eat?
Are you the type of person to savor and enjoy your meals, really tasting each bite? Or do you pound that food like it’s going to disappear?
Sadly, a lot of us fall into the “fast-eating” camp. We tend to blaze through our food at a blistering pace, often eating seconds or thirds before slower eaters have their first plate.
If only we knew how bad that was for our health…
Studies have proven that there are very real dangers of eating fast. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know—not only why you should slow down your eating, but how as well!
Obesity and Weight Gain –This is one problem we ALL want to avoid, and it’s probably the #1 reason we should start changing our ways.
Multiple research studies have investigated the dangers of eating fast, but one in particular from 2017  found that people who eat quickly have a higher chance of developing metabolic syndrome—including strokes, heart disease, and diabetes. Slower eaters were also less likely to become obese, while those who ate faster in the study were more prone to weight gain.
The Japanese study emphasized the importance of slower eating, with the study’s lead author explaining the main reason eating fast leads to weight gain. “When people eat fast they tend not to feel full and are more likely to overeat. Eating fast causes bigger glucose fluctuation, which can lead to insulin resistance.”
Of the 1000+ participants in the study, nearly twice as many fast eaters developed metabolic syndrome as those who ate at a normal speed, and more than FIVE TIMES as many as those who ate slowly. Speed eating also leads to a larger waistline, higher blood sugar levels, and weight gain.
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Cancer Risk –This one has been called into question, but it’s definitely something to be aware of!
Hot tea, coffee, and yerba mate have been linked to a higher risk of esophageal cancer, according to one 2009 meta-analysis . The hot beverages cause thermal damage to the mucosa in the esophagus, which in turn allows for the growth and spread of cancerous tissue. High-temperature beverages may very well be a risk factor in esophageal cancer, so it’s a good idea to slow down when drinking coffee, tea, and mate to let things cool down.
Indigestion and Stomach Upset –One of the primary risks you face when eating fast is heartburn, or acid reflux . The rapid food intake increases the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disorder, which occurs when food and acid from the stomach wash back up the esophagus.
But that’s not all! One of the most common causes of indigestion and an upset stomach is eating too fast , especially when it’s paired with eating too much. Seeing as we tend to overeat when eating very quickly, we can increase the risk of indigestion, gas, bloating, and stomach upset when we consume our food too quickly.
It’s actually not as hard as you might think! Here are three simple tricks to try today:
Sit Down and Make it a Meal –Eating on the go, while working, or while watching TV is definitely going to work against you! You’ll fall back into those old, fast-eating, over-eating habits, leading to a higher risk of the above-mentioned problems.
Instead, take the time to sit at the dining room table and make every meal a proper meal, complete with setting the table, serving the food onto your plates, and eating properly. It’ll be much easier to avoid speed eating when eating as a family.
Be Mindful of Your Meal –That means not only being mindful of how the food tastes, but how fast you’re eating it. Don’t be so focused on shoveling your meal down you never taste anything. Instead, savor each bite, and let your taste buds enjoy the various combinations of flavors, spices, and textures. Be mindful of how fast you’re eating, and let that awareness help you slow down your eating speed.
Eat Often – We tend to gobble down our meals when we’re hungry, but we can take our time and enjoy things a bit more if we don’t reach that “starving” feeling. The key, then, is to eat smaller meals throughout the day. Have a meal or snack every 3-4 hours, and make sure you’re getting enough calories to keep your body energized and your stomach fairly full. Regular meals and snacks will turn off those “hunger” receptors, helping you to enjoy your meals more without feeling the need to eat quickly.
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