The problem is there may be so many different influences causing it, it’s very hard to catch & change.
Whether it’s sibling-rivalry, anxiety, peer-pressure, busy workdays, or just plain-old stress, it turns out Eating Too Fast can really affect your health for the worse. And God help me for giving those damn hipster foodies more ammunition…
And the problems start simple. People who eat their food superfast don’t taste it that much. -More importantly, they really don’t smell it either. And that’s where we run into trouble.
You Actually Smell Your Food More Than You Taste It:
Part of the experience of eating, science has found, is the combination of BOTH tasting & smelling.
Your nose is actually FAR more sophisticated at telling the difference between different things than your relatively-simple tongue is. -So much so, that Smell is actually more-important than taste.
And that takes both Time and Mechanics.
-Which is what researchers from Yale & Penn found out when they constructed a model of the mouth, nose, & throat.
Chewing Creates The Cloud:
It turns out when you eat, part of your throat is closed off so you don’t -Literally- inhale your food.
And as you chew it, a cloud of suspended compounds that give food its smell forms inside your mouth, toward the back of your throat.
During that process and even as you swallow, that cloud of compounds which are similar to essential-oils reflux back up past your soft palette & into your nose where you end up smelling your food.
-Even after you take the next breath through your mouth, exhale or breathe through your nose, it all forces those suspended particles up even more.
So: What’s the significance of that?
Speed Kills Both The Cloud And -All- The Enjoyment:
The faster you eat, the less chewed-up your food is, the less heated-up & dissolved with saliva & enzymes it is, the less time that cloud of suspended particles has to form.
-Sometimes it doesn’t form at all.
And this deprives you of the full enjoyment & understanding that you’ve just eaten something.
The faster you eat, the less it feels like you did.
-And not just consciously. Your low-level brain hunger system processes it almost the same way. Speed Kills.
And to that end, another team of researchers in Japan found the physical impact of that.
Increased Speed Means Increased Obesity -Even In Japan:
In their study of 5,000 people, the rate of eating was very strongly-related to the rate of Obesity in their subjects.
Women who were considered fast-eaters were 50% more likely to be obese.
Men who were considered fast-eaters were 84%! more likely to be obese.
-And that’s just in Japan~!, where people are almost 3x Less likely to be obese than here in the US, according to the WHO’s Ramon Martinez.
More Speed Means More Calories; -And More Diabetes
And as a follow-up to that one, another study from the Journal of The American Dietetic Association found that when people eat fast as you might have now guessed, they end up taking in more calories.
-AHA! But they also ended up feeling less satisfaction from their meal, too.
-All the more reason to Eat Like The French and end up gorgeous forever, like our pal Yazemeenah Rossi.
But wait, there’s more!
Yet Another study by Dr. Lina Radzeviciene found the final link, that people who self-reported as fast-eaters were about 2.5 times, IE 250%, more-likely to have Type 2 Diabetes than slow-eaters!!!
Your Body Has Fixed Procedures, Regardless Of Your Schedule:
And that brings us to more mechanics, hormones, and finally: Time.
Now when you’re hungry, as the time between your last meal and this one increases, your body starts secreting more of The Hunger Hormone, called Ghrelin.
But when you eat, your stomach starts stretching out again & all kinds of muscles, tissues & receptors start getting a feel for what you ate & how much.
Once this happens, your stomach communicates directly to your brain via the vagus nerve.
To what degree we don’t yet know, but if you can still ~”taste” things with the back of your throat, perhaps your G-I tract can do very similar things, too?
Your Small Intestine, Not Your Stomach, Runs The Show; -And The Hormones:
And once your food starts going toward your small intestine, another few interesting things start happening.
1) Your body starts secreting The Fullness Hormone, Leptin.
2) Your brain starts telling all those internal G-I muscles to get things moving.
But the interesting part is some researchers think that The Fullness Hormone, is ONLY secreted once food hits your small intestine, and not before.
So in some measurable way, that part of you is almost More important for getting the signal for feeling full than even your stomach.
-This would also explain those times when you initially feel like you’ve eaten in your stomach, but there’s something about feeling actually Full that has not happened yet.
Your “Food-Clock” Is 20 Minutes Long; Play Chicken & You Lose:
And this also explains why the roughly-agreed-upon amount of time until your body realizes you’ve eaten is about 20 minutes.
And in another strange turn for something other than just the stomach or gut-brain link, at least one more hormone called PYY is then secreted after Leptin, as food moves further through your small intestine and the rest of your GI tract.
Yet another study showed that mice who were deprived of this hormone refused to regulate their eating & became obese.
Now if Obesity & much higher rates of all kinds of cardiovascular problems once you get Type 2 Diabetes weren’t bad enough, rates of both Indigestion & Acid Reflux were also elevated in populations termed fast-eaters, too.
So What Can You Do About It?:
Obviously, be mindful of it in the first place & catch yourself doing it. But otherwise:
Avoid stressful and fast eating situations.
-Because people will match the eating-speed of others around them, so find a mealtime partner who’s slow.
Be aware of your History & Habits. Sometimes these are learned in childhood from fast-eating siblings who cause territorial-anxiety that you carry with you into adulthood.
Focus & don’t multitask, unless it’s a good conversation with a slow-eating partner.
And for something a whole lot deeper into weapons-grade levels of mindfulness, check out Mindful Eating, by Zen Master Dr. Jan Chozen Bays.
You Don’t Really Have A Choice; -If You Want To Stay Healthy:
So either way, the message is clear: Our bodies are built a certain way. That’s not changing any time soon.
Nor is the list of things that have to happen in those first 20 minutes for us to start getting our Fullness Hormones.
And since your body’s little food-computer isn’t going to change, you are the one who will have to. Otherwise you might end up in Dr. Linda’s group of subjects.
Check out the rest of the details at the Links:
Photo Credits: Wrecked Ferrari LaFerrari on bridge in Shanghai, China, by WreckedExotics.com
• Source: YT-DNews, Why You Shouldn’t Eat Too Fast
• More Coverage: NYT-Fast Food | HarvardHealthBlog-Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster | DailyMail | MensHealth | Amazon-Mindful Eating
• Source Studies:
• PNAS-Optimal directional volatile transport in retronasal olfaction
• J.Epidemiology-Eating fast leads to obesity: findings based on self-administered questionnaires among middle-aged Japanese men and women.
• J.Am.DietAssoc.-Eating slowly led to decreases in energy intake within meals in healthy women.
• ClinicalNutrition-Fast eating and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a case-control study.
• JCEM-Eating Slowly Increases the Postprandial Response of the Anorexigenic Gut Hormones, Peptide YY and Glucagon-Like Peptide-1