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Monday 24th October 2016

How fast you eat linked to obesity

27th October 2008

A Japanese study has found that eating quickly can lead to obesity.


Those who eat fast and do not stop until they are full were three times more likely to be overweight than those who ate more slowly, or who stopped before they felt full, according to results published in the British Medical Journal.

In a study designed to determine whether eating till full and speed of eating were linked to obesity, researchers from Osaka University in Japan studied over 3,200 men (1,122) and women (2,165) aged 30–69 between 2003 and 2006.

Of the groups studied, 58.4% of women and 50.9% of men said they ate until they were full, in a questionnaire about their diet history and eating habits.

Researchers led by Professor Hiroyasu Iso of Osaka University also asked the participants to estimate their speed of eating. Around 45% of men and 36% of women said they judged themselves to eat quickly.

And the people who belonged in both categories had higher energy intake and body mass index (BMI) on average than those who neither ate quickly nor ate until full.

Men and women in the “eating until full and eating quickly” group were three times more likely to be overweight than the participants who did neither.

Researchers cited increased availability of inexpensive food, bigger portions, fast food and a breakdown in traditional family mealtime patterns.

Most adults simply had no opportunity to eat enough to get fat until the last 10 years or so, they added.

They concluded that eating until full and eating quickly “may have a substantial impact on being overweight,” and were associated with being overweight in Japanese men and women.

Psychologists said current eating patterns could be contributing to the global obesity problem, saying that clinicians should recognise the role played by behaviour and use cognitive behavioural therapies to address the issue in obese patients.

According to Elizabeth Denney-Wilson from University of NSW and Karen Campbell from Deakin University, both in Australia, said such therapies could help in the management of what had become an aggressively “eat more” food environment.

Doctors should work with parents to encourage healthy eating habits in their children. These could include eating slowly, eating appropriate portion sizes, and eating as a family in a non-distracting environment, researchers said.


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