The findings of the research were published on BMJ Open, tracked almost 60,000 people, and discovered that if you eat slowly, avoid snacks after dinner and don't eat within two hours before going to sleep, you can lose weight. Next, the participants answered a set of questions about their eating speed ('fast", "normal' and "slow'), whether they had dinner within 2 hours of sleeping, but also habits concerning after-dinner snacking, skipping breakfast, alcohol consumption frequency, sleep adequacy and tobacco consumption".
But before you vow to never gobble your dinner again, there were certain limitations to the study including the fact that it only focused on participants with type 2 diabetes, only featured a few older participants, and did not take into account levels of physical exercise or the amount of food eaten daily.
Eating quickly has previously been linked to impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. An analysis of these answers compared to the BMI and waist measurements of the respondents revealed that slow eaters had a 42 percent lower chance of being obese compared to fast eaters, while people who ate at normal speed had a 29 percent lower chance.
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.
Eating slowly could be the key to weight loss, according to a new study. But even after controlling for other potentially influencing factors, the researchers found that eating speed appeared to be an independent factor in weight and body mass index measures. (East Asian people tend to have smaller body sizes than European people, which is why the BMI threshold for obesity is different). "Those who naturally eat slowly may be attending to their body's cues for fullness, and eat a more appropriate portion during each eating occasion", Nina Crowley, Ph.D., a registered dietitian nutritionist and health psychologist working at the Medical University of SC, told CBS News.
People who didn't regularly skip breakfast were also slightly less likely to be obese (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.87 to 0.97).
On the other hand, the longer some people linger with food in front of them, the more they eat, she said. While that's great news for people who spend ages eating their food, it's worrying for people who enjoy a bit of a midnight snack, at speed, while sitting in front of the TV of an evening. We don't know whether people would lose weight if told to eat more slowly, or how easy it is to change eating speed.
"Interventions aimed at altering eating habits, such as education initiatives and programmes to reduce eating speed, may be useful in preventing obesity and reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases", the authors conclude.
"The combined effect of eating quickly and overeating may contribute to weight gain".