Eating Slowly Doesn’t Help With Weight Loss, Study Finds

One of the biggest diet myths has finally been debunked: eating slowly doesn’t necessarily help you lose weight, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Researchers at Texas Christian University analyzed how different eating speeds affect calorie intake in normal weight and overweight individuals. One meal was consumed at a slow speed, where subjects were told that time was not a factor. Another meal was eaten at a faster pace with large bites and quick chewing, almost as if the participants were in a rush and had to get somewhere quickly.

The results? When comparing the outcomes of both meals, the overweight and obese groups were unaffected, whereas the average-weight subjects consumed fewer calories during the slower meal.

“Slowing the speed of eating led to a significant reduction in energy intake in the normal-weight group, but not in the overweight or obese group. In both groups, ratings of hunger were significantly lower at 60 minutes from when the meal began during the slow compared to the fast eating condition,” Professor Meena Shah, the lead author of the study, explained. “These results indicate that greater hunger suppression among both groups could be expected from a meal that is consumed more slowly.”

Researchers found that the overweight group ate 58 calories less when they ate slower, and the normal weight group ate 88 calories less. So while eating slowly may reduce one’s overall hunger, it doesn’t actually affect calorie intake. Obesity rates have increased from 14.5 percent of the U.S. population in 1971-74 to 35.9 percent from 2009-10, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"A lack of statistical significance in the overweight and obese group may be partly due to the fact that they consumed less food during both eating conditions compared to the normal-weight subjects," says Dr. Shah.

Since over one-third of the U.S. adult population qualifies as obese, Dr. Shah says that people in different weight categories are looking for separate approaches and techniques to lose weight. She thinks that the results of her research can help people understand that slowing down your speed of eating "may help to lower energy intake and suppress hunger levels and may even enhance the enjoyment of a meal."

Whatever. Either way, we don't suggest this.

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