The benefits of eating slowly and how it can help you lose weight
- 2 Minutes Read
As French women may tell you, there are several benefits to eating slowly. And the best one? You may lose weight! Read on to discover how.
Did you realize that digestion actually starts in the mouth? It serves as the start of the entire digestive tract. From that first bite, that first taste, chewing allows your body and its fluids to break down food. Effective digestion includes eating slowly to help your digestive system perform its best. In addition, if you suffer from heartburn, it is helpful to chew well and eat slowly because the stomach won't need to produce as much stomach acid to break down the food.
Taste buds allow us to experience sweet, salty, sour, and bitter flavors. The average person has 5,000-10,000 of these tiny sensory organs on their tongue. Chewing food longer gives taste buds a better chance to perform. Your nose also plays a part in enjoying foods. As you chew, the food releases chemicals that travel up into your nose. The receptors inside signal the brain about the flavor of a food. Perhaps you can see how eating slowly can therefore increase the pleasure of eating even the most ordinary foods. All foods taste better when you take the time to appreciate the subtle flavors you might otherwise miss.
As you eat, your gut releases hormones that get absorbed into your bloodstream. Eventually, the brain detects these hormones and processes the information as hunger or fullness. A gut-brain signaling system drives eating when you are hungry and alerts you to stop eating when you are full. It takes about 20 minutes for this communication to happen, so eating more slowly benefits you when you notice the fullness signals and are comfortably full. When you eat quickly, it becomes easy to overeat and stuffed to the brim before noticing that you are full. So, eating slowly can help you lose weight if you often consume extra calories by eating past "full."
Have you ever inhaled your food so fast that you couldn't remember eating it? You are not alone. If you're a fast and furious eater, work on being mentally present while eating so you can truly enjoy your food completely while you slow down to appreciate it.
A "silent lunch" is a common group exercise at mindful eating conferences. Imagine a group of people eating together in silence. Without the distraction of conversation, each person can fully savor their food. Yes, it may sound awkward and unusual, but often the result is a valuable, "eye-opening" experience.
My curious husband asked me what topic I was writing about this time. When I told him it was about how eating slowly benefits us, He said, "Right, so you don't choke." Well, that is yet another practical reason to slow down while eating.
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