Here's why you might want to linger over lunch to lose weight

Why eating quickly could accelerate weight gain

Inhale your dinner? Yeah you might want to take it easy as according to a new study slow eating could be the secret to losing weight. Compared to fast eaters, the odds ratio for being obese was 0.58 for slow eaters and 0.71 for normal-speed eaters. Participants were asked about the speed they ate food - fast, normal or slow - and other lifestyle habits including eating dinner within two hours of sleeping, after-dinner snacking and skipping breakfast.

At the beginning of the study, more than 22,000 participants ate quickly, 33,500 ate at a normal pace and 4,200 ate slowly.

"What stands out to me about this study is the positive thought that eating speed is a modifiable risk factor in a world where people feel many health risk factors are beyond their control", she said in an email.

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The study's statistical analysis also found cutting down on snacks after dinner and not eating within two hours of bedtime were linked to weight loss; skipping breakfast was not. "Changes in eating speed can affect changes in obesity, BMI and waist circumference", a research duo from Japan's Kyushu University wrote in the journal BMJ Open. Reducing the eating speed also seems to act as a protective factor against non-communicable disease like type 2 diabetes. Just over half of participants changed their eating speed over the course of the study. Waist circumference was found to be directly proportional to eating speed as well.

Researchers analysed Japanese health insurance and check-up data collected between 2008 and 2013.

It was an observational study, rather than a study where participants are getting assigned in random groups and requested to eat at different rates. Now, a study in BMJ Open sheds some light onto which of those strategies actually work: Based on data from almost 60,000 people, three behaviors-eating slowly, cutting out after-dinner snacks and not eating within two hours of going to bed-were linked to lower obesity rates and smaller waistlines. One of the questions included how fast they tended to eat and use alcohol. In addition to having their BMI and waistlines measured, they also submitted blood and urine samples, and completed questionnaires on their health and lifestyles.

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Experts said that people who ate quickly did not allow time for the brain to read cues from the gut that it was no longer empty.

Tam Fry, chair of the National Obesity Forum, said: "The speed at which a lot of people wolf down their food is undeniably a contributor to obesity".

They believe that fast eaters weigh in higher than their slow counterparts as it takes around 20 minutes for the brain to receive the message is the stomach is full.

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Katarina Kos, an obesity researcher at Exeter Medical School, also commented on the study, stating that similar research needs to be conducted among non-diabetics in order to eliminate the effect of diabetes medication on weight loss or gain.

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