Eating healthy is something we all would like to do, but the speed at which we eat may also be important. Scarfing down our food instead of eating it at a slower pace may be increasing your risk of developing conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
According to preliminary research data conducted in Japan, the speed at which you eat could be increasing your risk for a condition called metabolic syndrome.
A diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is made if an individual has at least three of the five mentioned medical conditions, giving a total of 16 possible combination presentations. Metabolic syndrome is associated with the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, two major contributors to overall mortality in American citizens. It is estimated that about a quarter of the adult population in the U.S. have metabolic syndrome, with prevalence increasing with age.
The study in question followed 642 men and 441 women of an average age of 51.1 years for five years. These individuals did not have metabolic syndrome at the beginning of the study. Participants were divided into three groups: slow, normal, or fast eaters.
At the end of five years, fast eaters were found to be more likely (11.6 percent) to have developed metabolic syndrome compared to normal eaters (6.5 percent) or slow eaters (2.3 percent). Fast eaters were also seen to gain more weight, have higher blood glucose levels, and larger waistlines.
“Eating more slowly may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome. 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. We also believe our research would apply to a U.S. population,” said Takayuki Yamaji, M.D., study author and cardiologist at Hiroshima University in Japan.
While the study didn’t go into specifics of particular diets and their relation to the results found, the researchers believe that taking your time while eating your meals will help your body metabolize the food more efficiently. However, more research is needed.