Fast Eating & Weight Gain

Could shoving food down your throat lead to weight gain? Learn what the top scientists and researchers are saying about fast eating.

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This post is also featured over at The Well Necessities at www.thewellnecessities.com

photograph by Katya Higgins Photography – http://katyahiggins.com

Today’s post is something I am super duper passionate about. Well, I am passionate about all things health and wellness but this one in particular has always been of much interest to me. People often ask why I eat so slow or why I am still on my first plate while they are on their third. At first I thought I was weird or sick or something but quickly realized I was actually doing the right thing. Now I get to tell you about the importance of slow eating and the effects it can have on your overall health and even weight management. Simplholistic is not the place for diet campaigners or quick fix pills and if that is why you are here, you will be highly disappointed. I work on whole mind, body and spirit approach to your health and recognize that we are all different. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan here. Alright, let’s get started with some crazy statistics.

The good ol’ stats.

Did you know that 63% of eating is done while we are doing something else like driving, watching TV, playing video games, working or walking?(1) That means that only 27% of eating is mindful eating which is not good. We need to be present to properly take in, breakdown and digest our food. Another crazy statistic is that 52% of Americans said they think learning how to file taxes is easier than learning to eat healthy!(2) Our American people would rather work with governmental agencies that take their money (haha) than learn to eat whole foods. I want this to end and I will do anything in my power to work with YOU to learn to eat healthy. 1/4 of American’s eat fast food every. single. day. American’s consume 31% more packaged foods than fresh food…. that is a heartbreaking statistic. 20% of our meals are eating in the car (which is now illegal in Washington by the way). I want you to sit on those for a moment and think about if you fall into those statistics. If you do, you can change it and make healthier choices for you and your family. If you don’t, you go girl (boy).

Another statistic that leaves room for huge improvement is that healthiness decreases by 1.7% every hour that passes. This means that we are prone to eat healthier at breakfast and as the day goes one, we will likely eat more junk and less fresh food. If you eat healthier in the morning you will feel better, have more energy and want to eat healthier throughout the day. Let’s beat this statistic! Now, my fav, the money talk. My clients and random people I meet throughout the day always talk to me about how expensive clean eating is and how they could never afford it. Well, did you know that 10% of American’s disposable income is used on fast food annually? That is $7,385 on fast food, this is “food” I question how it has even passed regulations to be sold for human consumption.

How long do you think it takes for your body to recognize that it’s full?

Talk science to me.

This right here is the good stuff that I have been dying to share with you. That question above about knowing when you’re full is the topic of the portion of the blog. There are countless numbers of studies done on slow eating and whether or not it is beneficial to your overall health. Spoiler alert, it is. Precision Nutrition, NCBI, Mayo Clinic and many of my very favorite doctors agree the it takes about 20 minutes for the gut to tell the brain it is full. If it takes less than 20 minutes for us to scarf down a huge plate a food we are likely overstuffing ourself and disrupting the hormones associated with appetite and satiation. This means if we eat less a full meal in less than 20 minutes we are potentially stuffing ourselves beyond what we actually need aka over calorie consumption aka weight gain.

Slow paced eating is associated with satiation (satisfaction) and gut hormone response (Ghrelin).(3) When we eat slowly we are choosing a preventative option that guards us from weight gain caused by over calorie consumption. This slow eating also helps to curb food intake for those, like many of clients, that are suffering from obesity and/or diabetes. The research on quick eating is pretty unanimous:

“Eating quickly promotes weight gain and makes you feel out of control of your eating habits.” & “Fast eaters gain more weight than slow eaters.” – Precision Nutrition

Eating is a beautiful thing and something we should enjoy with friends, family and even by ourselves. Let’s talk about the steps to eating so you can get an idea of what is actually going on.
Step 1 – We smell, see or think about food – this is when the brain gets excited and we start subconsciously preparing for digestion. Pretty cool, huh?
Step 2 – We salivate to prepare for putting food into our mouth – this serves as a lubrication
Step 3 to however many steps there are – these are the digestive steps that are crucial in food breakdown and getting the nutrients we need for overall health. Our stomach starts to excrete more acid and our small intestine prepares for peristalsis (an involuntary muscle contraction for swallowing). If we eat too quickly, we never get to fully experience this (brilliantly designed) digestion process. There is a reason we should get off of the screens, video games, stress train and actually sit down and eat our meals, s l o w l y.

Research after research shows that we eat fewer calories when we eat slower. I keep nailing this on the head because I want you to remember it. Eat slowly creates actual biochemical changes that make us less inclined to overeat. This isn’t some new-age mumbo jumbo or whatever you are thinking; this is science. Prolonged chewing also prevents diabetes and decreases your chances of unnecessary snacking. When we eat until we are full and do it fast, we are tripling our chances of becoming overweight. There are hormones that are released and feedback between the gut and the brain when we eat slowly. You guessed it, when we eat fast, this doesn’t happen. We are robbing ourself of optimal health by something that could easily be fixed! Inadequate chewing shortchanges nutrition because digestion begins in the mouth. Carb and fat digestion begin in the mouth and when we chew, it signals the rest of our body for the incoming food.

PHEW. I will end this post here but I do have a couple little fun things for you. When I first became health conscious I set a timer during a meal and then ate at normal speed. I was amazed at how fast I ate, 3 minutes for a whole meal!! Do the same and let me know what your times are and what you would like them to be. I hope this helps you to be the healthiest you that you can be. Be sure to follow me in instagram and subscribe to my email list for a FREE gift.


Resources

(1) https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2011/11/22/how-much-time-do-americans-spend-eating
(2) https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-american-eating-habits
(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4212566/

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