First Research Confirms That Eating Slowly Inhibits Appetite

Nov 15, 2006

For more than 30 years, dieters have been told to eat slowly to reduce their intake of food. But until now, there has been no scientific evidence to support the theory.

“It started in about 1972 as a hypothesis that eating slowly would allow the body time for the development of satiety [fullness] and we would eat less,” said Kathleen Melanson, assistant professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Rhode Island. “Since then we’ve heard it everywhere and it has become common knowledge. But no studies had been conducted to prove it.”

In fact, early evidence suggested the opposite to be true. In the 1990s, one study examined the role of small bite sizes and found no effects, while a study of pauses between bites actually showed increased food consumption with more pauses.

But a laboratory study of college-age women over the past year led by Melanson confirmed the long-held belief. The results were reported in October by research intern Ana Andrade at the annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity.

In the study, 30 women made two visits to Melanson’s lab, and each time they were given a large plate of pasta and told to eat as much as they wanted. When they were told to eat quickly, they consumed 646 calories in nine minutes, but when they were encouraged to pause between bites and chew each mouthful 15 to 20 times, they ate just 579 calories in 29 minutes.

“Satiety signals clearly need time to develop,” Melanson concluded. “Not only did the women take in fewer calories when they ate more slowly, they had a greater feeling of satiety at meal completion and 60 minutes afterwards, which strongly suggests benefits to eating more slowly.”

The women also judged themselves as having enjoyed the meal more when they ate slowly than when they ate quickly, Melanson added.

One potentially confounding factor in the study was that the volunteers were provided water to drink with their meal, and when eating slowly they had considerably more time to drink before completing their meal. The greater consumption of water might have contributed to satiety under the slow condition. However, Melanson said that this factor reflects the real-world situation, since eating slowly allows more time for water consumption. She will conduct follow-up studies next spring that factor in water consumption as well as the consumption of higher calorie beverages like soft drinks or juices.

Additional studies will be conducted in 2007 to determine if there are different results for other groups of individuals. Melanson also plans to study “the physiological signals that suppress hunger or enhance satiety to see if there is a mechanistic explanation for our results.”

Source: University of Rhode Island

Explore further: Gun deaths twice as high among African-Americans as white citizens in US

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA HS3 instrument views two dimensions of clouds

4 hours ago

NASA's Cloud Physics Lidar (CPL) instrument, flying aboard an unmanned Global Hawk aircraft in this summer's Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel, or HS3, mission, is studying the changing profile of the atmosphere ...

Recommended for you

CDC: Almost everyone needs a flu shot

49 minutes ago

(HealthDay)—Less than half of all Americans got a flu shot last year, so U.S. health officials on Thursday urged that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the coming flu season. "It's really unfortunate ...

Can you train your brain to crave healthy foods?

3 hours ago

The mere sight of a slice of gooey chocolate cake, a cheesy pizza, or a sizzling burger can drive us to eat these foods. In terms of evolution we show preference for high calorie foods as they are an important ...

What doctors say to LGBT teens matters

4 hours ago

When doctors speak to teens about sex and LGBT issues, only about 3 percent of them are doing so in a way that encourages LGBT teens to discuss their sexuality, and Purdue University researchers say other doctors can learn ...

User comments : 0