Bad Medicine

Beware of Gulping and Gaining

When I was overweight, I'd often go all day without a meal. Then when I got home, I'd mow down any food in sight.

A trigger food was chocolate-covered raisins. I'd grab the container and eat them by the handful, too fast to even really taste them.

But when you're trying to lose weight, eating fast is counterproductive. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed that when you eat quickly, your body doesn’t have the chance to produce the necessary hormones to make you feel full.

The researchers discovered that when the men in the study ate more slowly, two key hormones were released by the digestive tract. Why are these hormones so important? Because they send a message to you to stop eating! These two hormones also send a signal that will help to curb your appetite for about three hours.

When you gulp down or rush through your meal, the hormones do not get produced to the same level. So it appears that slowing down and enjoying your meal could result in you staying fuller, longer.

Here are some simple tips to slow down the hunger train:

  • Smell your food before your first bite. Involve your other senses while eating; it can help to increase your food satisfaction.
  • Put your fork down between bites — always a tough one for me, but it works.
  • Never skip a meal. When my clients skip a meal, they are more likely to overeat at their next one.

A final tip:

I find that liquid calories (like those in iced lattes or smoothies) don't fill me up as much as "real" food does — plus they are hundreds of calories. So don't sip your calories and see that full feeling slip away, and hunger return, only a short time later. Have a filling meal that will stay with you longer.

Healthy Bites appears on MyHealthNewsDaily on Wednesdays. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist, and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!

Deborah Enos
Deborah Enos, CN, also known as "The One-Minute Wellness Coach," is The Health Coach for busy, working people. She pares her good-health messages down to simple and fast bullet points that can impact lives in 60 seconds or less. Deborah serves as a board member of the American Heart Association.  In addition to writing the Healthy Bites column for Live Science, Deborah is a regular on FOX Business News, NBC and ABC, and is a frequent contributor to The Costco Connection, Parade Magazine, Self Magazine, Good Housekeeping and USA Today. Deborah is also The One Minute Wellness Coach for The Doctors TV Show.