Mealtime is a good time to remember the saying “slow as molasses.” Research published in the journal BMJ Open in February found that Japanese adults with type 2 diabetes who reported a habit of wolfing down their meals were 29% more likely to be overweight than those who ate at a normal pace. Fast eaters were 42% more likely to exceed weight norms than people who lingered over their meals for an especially long time.

In today’s fast-paced lifestyle where sit-down family meals are rare, inhaling our food can be easy. But research suggests that eating at a more slothlike pace can give the body a better chance to register satiety cues and glean more enjoyment from food—leading to less mindless overeating and, potentially, less belly fat. Slow eating may also improve blood sugar control, which can bolster health measures, including waistline circumference. Avoiding distractions (stow the phone, please), chewing mouthfuls of food thoroughly and putting down utensils between bites can make meals more of a lasting experience.

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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