Eating Fast May Make You Fat

Eating meals on the go may be unwise for those wanting to lose weight. New research reveals that scarfing down a lot of food, quickly, curbs the release of certain gut hormones that make you feel full.

The result: Your body doesn't get the memo that it's time to stop dining and that may lead to overeating. That doesn't bode well for our fast-paced lifestyles.

One caveat is the study was small, involving just 17 adult males. Firming up such results, past research has also shown that slow-eating can be a key to healthy portions. One such study, reported by WebMD, revealed it takes at least 12 minutes for satiety signals to reach the brain in thin individuals and at least 20 minutes for an obese person. The upshot is that you need to eat slowly so the "I'm full" messages have time to reach the brain.

"Our findings give some insight into an aspect of modern-day food overconsumption, namely the fact that many people, pressed by demanding working and living conditions, eat faster and in greater amounts than in the past," said lead researcher of the new study Dr. Alexander Kokkinos of Laiko General Hospital in Athens, Greece. "The warning we were given as children that 'wolfing down your food will make you fat,' may in fact have a physiological explanation."

In the study, participants all ate about a cup (300 ml) of ice cream during two different sessions in which the eaters took 5 minutes and 30 minutes to complete. Researchers took blood samples from eaters at the onset of the snack and at 30-minute intervals for the next 3.5 hours.

The slow eaters had higher concentrations of two gut hormones, peptide YY and a glucagon-like peptide that are released by the stomach after a meal and act on the brain to signal satiety.

Such slow eaters also had higher ratings of fullness compared with the quick eaters.

The research will be detailed in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Live Science Staff
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