The Art of Mindful Eating

Ever notice that thin people eat slower than others?  I am always paying attention to how fast or slow people eat because this usually correlates with their waistline.  My brother-in-law who use to be in the army and still eats like he is still in the service.  We had lunch the other day at Chipotle and before I got a napkin and drink he had already finished his meal.  If I remember correctly, that was a little over three minutes for him to finish his lunch.  I didn’t want to act like his mother and tell him to chew his food, but I had to ask him about his ability to “inhale” his food, and he said to me that he knew he should eat slower.  I wouldn’t say he is obese by any means but just like a lot of us he could lose a few pounds.  I always wonder if people like my brother-in-law would just try to just slow down and enjoy their meal what sort of a difference would that make to their waistline?

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism suggested that eating as if a drill sergeant was pushing one to “hurry up and eat” doesn’t allow the body’s appetite control process to send signals that one has had enough to eat.  In other words, the body doesn’t have time to process the fact that one has had enough to eat when he or she is eating too fast.  The researchers also discovered when men ate slower hormone levels released in the digestive tract sent signals to the body that they were full.  This helped the men in the study to curb hunger levels well after their meal.

So ask yourself how do you eat?  Do you “inhale your food like my brother-in-law?  Or are you the last one to finish your lunch during a business luncheon?  In this case it’s definitely better to finish last.  In case you were wondering, my brother-in-law still gets lectured by his mother about his ability to inhale food.  The look on his face when he is getting lectured about it is indeed priceless.

Dr. Shah, M.D.