Health Desk: 14 February 2018: Trying to shed those extra kilos? Chewing slowly and refraining from eating for two hours before bedtime may help, scientists say. Changes in eating habits were strongly associated with lower obesity and weight (BMI), and smaller waist circumference, according to researchers from Kyushu University in Japan.
The findings are based on health insurance data for nearly 60,000 people with diabetes in Japan who submitted claims and had regular health check-ups between 2008 and 2013.
During the check-ups, participants were quizzed about their lifestyle, including their eating and sleep habits as well as alcohol and tobacco use. They were specifically asked about their eating speed, which was categorized as fast, normal or slow.
They were asked whether they did any of the following three or more times a week: eat dinner within two hours of going to sleep; snack after dinner; and skip breakfast. More than a third (36.5 percent) of participants had one check-up over the six years, while just under a third (29.5 percent) had two. One in five (20 percent) had three.
At the start of the study, some 22,070 people routinely wolfed down their food; 33,455 ate at a normal speed, and 4,192 lingered over every mouthful.
The slow-eaters tended to be healthier and to have a healthier lifestyle than either the fast or normal speed eaters.
After taking account of potentially influential factors, the results showed that compared with those who tended to gobble up their food, those who ate at a normal speed were 29 percent less likely to be obese, rising to 42 percent for those who ate slowly.
Although absolute reductions in waist circumference–an indicator of a potentially harmful midriff bulge–were small, they were greater among the slow and normal speed eaters.
Snacking after dinner and eating within two hours of going to sleep three or more times a week were also strongly linked to changes in BMI. However, skipping breakfast was not.