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How Being Slow Loses Weight

In the pursuit of weight loss, various strategies have been explored, ranging from dietary modifications to increased physical activity. Here’s one you may not have seen before: the speed at which we consume our meals

.Eating more slowly has emerged as a promising approach to promote weight loss and improve overall health.

The Physiology of Eating Speed

The process of eating involves complex physiological mechanisms that impact satiety, digestion, and nutrient absorption. When we consume food rapidly, we override the body's natural regulatory mechanisms, hindering its ability to recognize fullness signals. In contrast, slower eating allows for enhanced sensory perception and feedback, enabling the body to better regulate energy intake and contribute to weight control.

Weight Loss and Eating Speed: The Scientific Evidence

A growing body of scientific research demonstrates a significant association between eating speed and weight management. Several studies have shown that slower eating patterns are associated with reduced calorie intake and lower body mass index (BMI) (1-3, 5). For instance, a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that women who ate slower consumed fewer calories and experienced greater feelings of fullness compared to those who ate quickly (2). Similarly, Leong et al. found that faster eating habits correlate with higher body mass index (3).

Mechanisms Behind Eating Slowly and Weight Loss

The relationship between eating speed and weight loss can be attributed to several physiological and psychological factors. Here are some key mechanisms:

1. Enhanced Satiety: Slower eating promotes the release of satiety hormones, such as cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which signal fullness to the brain and decrease appetite (4).

2. Improved Digestion: Chewing food thoroughly allows for better mechanical breakdown and digestion, enhancing nutrient absorption and reducing digestive discomfort.

3. Mindful Eating: Eating slowly encourages mindful eating practices, fostering a greater connection between body and mind. This awareness helps individuals recognize hunger and satiety cues more effectively, leading to improved portion control and healthier food choices.

Implementing Strategies for Slower Eating

To adopt a slower eating approach, consider the following strategies:

1. Mindful Start: Begin each meal by taking a moment to appreciate the aroma, texture, and appearance of the food on your plate. This practice helps shift your focus to the act of eating and encourages slower consumption.

2. Chew Thoroughly: Take the time to chew your food adequately, aiming for at least 20 to 30 chews per bite. This allows for better digestion and promotes a sense of fullness.

3. Savor and Enjoy: Focus on the flavors and textures of your meal. Engaging all your senses while eating can enhance satisfaction and decrease the desire for additional food.

4. Set the Pace: Use visual cues, such as placing utensils down between bites or taking sips of water, to help control the pace at which you eat.


As part of an overall healthy living plan, eating slower may be an effective tool in weight management for some people. Pacing yourself at mealtimes may serve as an easy, natural way to feel fuller and consume fewer calories.


  1. Maruyama K, Sato S, Ohira T, et al. The joint impact on being overweight of self reported behaviours of eating quickly and eating until full: cross sectional survey. BMJ. 2008;337:a2002.
  2. Andrade AM, Greene GW, Melanson KJ. Eating slowly led to decreases in energy intake within meals in healthy women. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108(7):1186-1191.
  3. Leong SL, Madden C, Gray A, Waters D, Horwath C. Faster self-reported speed of eating is related to higher body mass index in a nationwide survey of middle-aged women. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011;111(8):1192-1197.
  4. Hlebowicz J, Rådholm K, Holst JJ, Björgell O, Darwiche G, Almér LO. Effect of commercial breakfast fibre cereals compared with corn flakes on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying and satiety in healthy subjects: a randomized blinded crossover trial. Nutr J. 2012;11:82.
  5. Yamane M, Ekuni D, Mizutani S, et al. Relationships between eating quickly and weight gain in Japanese university students: A longitudinal study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014;22(10):2262-2266.
  6. Hellström PM, Näslund E. Interactions between gastric emptying and satiety, with special reference to glucagon-like peptide-1. Physiology & Behavior. 2001 Nov 12;74(4-5):735-41.


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