We’ve all been there: gobbling down your breakfast on the way out the door, squeezing in a quick lunch before meetings or snacking on the kids’ dinner while you catch up on emails. But if you can take the time to slow down and focus on your food, it could make a real difference to your body.

‘Eating rate’ (also known as how quickly you eat) can really affect how much you’re consuming and how many calories you’re taking on. In short: the faster you eat, the more calories you could be putting into your body. It’s partly because you’re not paying attention to how much you’re eating, plus it can take up to 20 minutes for you to realise you’re full. That means you might not be giving your brain a chance to catch up with your belly and know when it’s time to stop eating.

 Did you know?

·         On average, faster eaters eat 120 more calories per day than slow eaters.

·         Faster eaters can also carry up to five kilograms extra weight on average.

·         Studies have shown that faster eaters suffer more from acid reflux than slow eaters.

·         Chewing your food for longer can help you eat more slowly and take on fewer calories.

Hard foods versus soft ones

The texture of the food you eat can really make a difference to the speed you consume it. If you tend to go for softer, more processed food, you’re likely to eat it faster and possibly eat more of it, too. So, try to avoid things like sugary yoghurt, mashed potatoes or chocolate, and instead opt for crunchy veg, nuts and seeds. Be careful though: not all hard food is good for you, so don’t start heading for those tortilla chips or crunchy candy! Remember to still choose food that’s nutritious and good for your body.


The effect on your health

If you’re keeping an eye on your body weight, you might find that eating more slowly could help slim your waistline. Eating quickly can mean you’re more likely to develop visceral fat around your middle, which sits inside the walls of your abdomen and around your organs. Researchers have found that those who eat faster can have a waist that’s up to three centimetres larger than those who eat slowly.


Good for your insides

Slowing down at mealtimes can also boost your metabolic health and keep you away from things like heart disease, diabetes and strokes. That’s because the quicker you eat, the more likely you are to have higher blood sugar and the bad type of cholesterol, known as LDL cholesterol. So, even though you can’t see all the benefits, you can be sure that eating slowly is good for you from the inside out.

Some simple steps to get you started

·         Take time to focus on how quickly you’re eating. If it feels too fast, simply slow down.

·         Put your cutlery down between each bite and finish your mouthful before you put more food on your fork.

·         Have a sip of water after every few bites. It’ll remind you to take a break and finish your mouthful.

·         Don’t eat in front of the TV or while you’re on your phone. Ditching screens while you eat will help you concentrate on what you’re eating and make your food your primary focus.

·         Pay attention to how many times you chew each mouthful. If it’s five or six, try upping it to ten or fifteen. It’ll slow you down and help you get more nutrients in your body, too.


Why not take a look at my other tips on how to eat mindfully? They could help you feel healthier, more energised and find real joy in your food!

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