In short: it does not directly make you fatter, but people who eat faster tend to get fat more easily.
One word, overeating.
Research has revealed that eating a lot of food quickly restrains the release of some gut hormones that make you feel full. Basically, your body doesn't get the signal to stop eating and that increases the likelihood to overeat! (hello, weight gain.)
Another study, reported by WebMD, showed that it takes at least 12 minutes for the satiety signals to reach the brain of an average individual and at least 20 minutes for an obese person. So, if you are one of those people who gobble down food in less than 5 minutes, you're likely to find the food not filling for you. (Sounds familiar eh?)
How to Slow Down?!
Okay, this might sound funny to some, but slowing down when eating is NOT easy for everyone; especially not when you're famished! It's alright, I've been there, I get it.
So here's what you can do:
- Grab a (healthy) snack in between meals. That helps to curb your hunger and allows you to make more rational food decisions. Contrary to popular belief, snacking is actually good diet practice! Say what? (Learn some healthy snacking tips here)
- Don’t talk when you chew! Firstly, that's a little... unglam. Secondly, this will force you to slow down, and you’ll be full before you know it.
- Have regular mealtimes. This will help to regulate your body and help it send signals registering fullness before you overeat!
- As soon as you feel the first stirrings of fullness, remove your plate or cover it with a napkin. This deliberate act is an effective way to send a message to your brain that nom nom time is over!
How long should I take to consume a meal?
Of course, most of the time it depends on what you’re eating – well, you can't possibly take an hour to finish an ice cream.
But here's a rule of thumb: if you’re always the first to finish regardless of what you're eating, then try to extend your mealtime by at least 5 minutes.
However, note that it’s not so much of how long you take to finish a single meal, but rather how long between the courses that matters more. We would suggest waiting for about 20 minutes before you decide to eat more! That'll give your brain and stomach some time to register the food :)