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Eating Slowly to Manage Weight

Can savoring our food help us manage body weight better?

Woman next to clock eating slowly for weight management

Chew on this: Backed by some intriguing science, eating slowly and chewing thoroughly could be recommended as eating strategies towards helping with weight management efforts.

In a clever investigation published in Scientific Reports, researchers from Japan conducted three trials where volunteers (1) swallowed a liquid food normally, (2) kept test food in their mouth for 30 seconds without chewing, thereby allowing prolonged tasting before swallowing, and (3) added 30 seconds of chewing at a frequency of once per second while also tasting.

While there was no difference in hunger and fullness scores among the trials, diet-induced thermogenesis (the energy expenditure of digesting and processing food) increased to a greater extent when tasting and chewing were involved in the feeding process. This result suggests that oral stimuli can have a noticeable impact on energy expenditure, and we should be eating slowly, instead of being quick to wolf down our meals.

While the difference in energy expenditure per meal is relatively small, the cumulative effect gathered during multiple meals and snacks, taken over numerous days, could have an impact on body weight.

See also: Yes, You Can Develop Better Eating Habits

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

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