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How to Eat Slower: 6 Strategies

Eating slower can improve your health.

We've all heard that it is important to eat slower. Here's why, and how to do it.

5 Reasons to Eat Slower

  1. When food is fully chewed, it breaks down, making it easier for your body to fully absorb nutrients.
  2. People who eat slower tend to eat less according to research. A small study found that chewing pasta 35 times rather than 10 times reduced meal size by 12%. Another study found a similar finding with Chinese males, when chewing pork pie 40 times vs. 15 times resulted in their meal size being reduced by 11.9%.
  3. According to a Japanese study, eating fast is associated with insulin resistance.
  4. You will be less hungry later. In a study on people who ate slowly, they were less hungry 60 minutes after eating than those who ate quickly.
  5. When you eat slower, you tend to notice the flavors and sensations which boost your pleasure meals and snacks.

6 Strategies to Help You Chew Slower

  1. Find your “ideal” chewing rate. According to one study, participants who chewed each bite of lunch continuously for 30 seconds ate half as many candies later that afternoon as participants who chewed at their normal rate.
  2. Set your intention. Simply setting the intention to eat slower can help. Think about when you are driving. Just telling yourself, “I can’t speed in this school zone," leads you to take the foot off the gas immediately!
  3. Create a mindful pause moment during the meal. Take a deep breath. Switch utensils. Take a drink.
  4. Practice! It can’t hurt to practice chewing slowly while you aren’t eating a meal. At your next snack, intentionally change your speed. You can also practice with gum. Chew it fast and then slow. Notice your pace.
  5. We are highly impacted by other people and how quickly they eat. Notice how fast your dining companions are eating and try to eat at your own pace. Did you know that a recent study found that women tend to chew slower and have longer mealtimes than men?
  6. The size/diameter of food impacts your bite size. So, breaking food into smaller pieces will naturally help you to take smaller bites.

For five free, downloadable tips to help you change mindless eating habits right now, go here.

More from Susan Albers Psy.D.
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