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Eating slower could help prevent obesity, researchers say

Eating slower could help prevent obesity, researchers say

The latest study is not the first to suggest that taking a sedate pace at the dinner table could be beneficial: various pieces of work have hinted that those who eat quickly are more likely to be overweight, have acid reflux and have metabolic syndrome.

Other habits the researchers looked at - including whether people ate or skipped breakfast, and how much sleep they got - did not appear to have a significant impact on weight.

Their weight was assessed using their body mass index (BMI) score and their waist circumference was also measured.

The study also tags the time that people eat as one of the factors in weight gain or weight loss.

At the start of the study, more than half of the people said they ate at a normal speed, while about a third said they tended to eat fast.

The results reveal that 21.5% of the slow-eating group was obese, compared to nearly 30% of the normal-speed group and 45% of the fast-eating group.

Adults with type 2 diabetes who reported "fast" eating speeds had a higher risk for obesity than those who reported eating at "normal" or "slow" speeds, study data show. Skipping breakfast, on the other hand, did not seem to have any effect on BMI and weight.

"Interventions aimed at altering eating habits, such as education initiatives and programmes to reduce eating speed, may be useful in preventing obesity and reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases", the authors write.

Pauses targeted at lessening the eating speed may prove effective in preventing obesity and reducing the linked health risks.

That's the outcome of a study in the journal BMJ Open, which scrutinised the health insurance data of almost 60,000 Japanese people who were quizzed about their health and lifestyle habits over a six-year period. Those who said they eat slowly fared even better.

Eating slowly, eating breakfast, and not eating midnight snacks are not the only things that people need to do to lose weight though.

Researchers analysed Japanese health insurance and check-up data collected between 2008 and 2013. Eating quickly also causes bigger blood sugar fluctuations which can lead to insulin resistance. Only 21.5 percent of participants in a self-defined slow eating group were obese, compared with more than 44 percent of a self-defined fast-eating group, Channel News Asia explained. According to him, "it is probably due to the signals sent by the digestive system that communicates to the brain that we are satiated in time to limit the amount ingested". This may be due to the fact that the satiety signal takes some time to travel from the stomach to the brain, and may arrive only after the fast eater has already consumed more than enough.

Katarina Kos-an obesity researcher-Exeter Medical School said that similar research needs to be conducted in non-diabetic people for learning the potential of the diabetes medication in weight loss or gain.

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