We’ve all heard that mindfulness while eating can help you lose weight – and they might be on the right path. New research from Japan has shown that people who eat their food fast are at a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a term that covers heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
With a group of over 1,000 participants, researchers examined the speed at which people ate and the incidence of metabolic disease 5 years later.
The study found that people who finish their plates first had a 11.6% chance to develop metabolic syndrome than slow eaters, who had just a 2.3% chance. Average-paced eaters were still at a higher chance, at 6.5%.
Metabolic syndrome includes factors such as abdominal obesity, high fasting blood sugar, high blood pressure and high triglycerides, which can contribute to stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
This correlation is thought to be due to the fact that when you eat fast, your body doesn’t have time to process the fact that it’s full until you’ve already overeaten, which can contribute to weight gain and glucose fluctuations.
“Eating more slowly may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome,” said Takayuki Yamaji, study author and cardiologist at Hiroshima University. “When people eat fast they tend not to feel full and are more likely to overeat.”
Keep this in mind when you reach for a second helping over the festive season – take a break between dishes, you might be more full than you realise.