Our family of four owns a garbage disposal, and no I’m not talking about the fancy expensive kind that makes awful noises as it devours left over food, (though ours often makes equally disturbing noises). Our garbage disposal is child number one, my brother. He scarfs down food faster than it hits the serving plate, and for that reason, we as a family have learned to eat quite quickly to even get a morsel. So what’s the point?
The point is, aside from the choking hazard of eating too quickly, there are some other health hazards that come with the family World War for food (other than loosing an eye or finger). Eating more slowly can lead to a more enjoyable eating experience for many reasons:
Losing Weight: When you inhale your food its easy to overeat. As is commonly known, it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you’re full and to stop eating. The slower you eat, the less food you digest in that 20-minute window. That means you’re brain gets the signal that you’re full before you way overstuff yourself. The result: you may lose, or at least maintain weight.
Enjoying Family Time: If you take time in between bites to have a conversation with family, you are not only slowing down your food consumption and giving your stomach time to signal fullness to the brain, but you are also bonding with family (a concept that seems foreign to most 11 minute meal Americans). Mealtime is a cultural bonding experience in many other countries, why not in America as well?
Improving Digestion: While the topic of digestion alone is enough to slow your eating and curb your appetite, here is what you need to know. The slower you eat, the more time your stomach has to work on digesting your food, preventing indigestion and other digestive discomforts.
So, now that we’ve discussed the benefits of eating more slowly how do we go about doing it? It is one of the simplest health changes you can make. Chew your food more, talk in between bites, put smaller portions on your plate so you are less tempted to plow through it. Simply enjoy the taste of your foods more. The slower you eat, the more flavors and textures you will pick up. Who knows, you may find you enjoy certain foods more than you used to!