Eating May Prevent Weight Gain
May, we profiled the Slow Food movement, which started in Italy in
reaction to the arrival of McDonalds in central Rome, and has
been gaining American adherents. (See Slow Food
Movement Gains Momentum.)
mission statement of Slow Food USA encapsulates the purpose of this
Stewardship of the land and ecologically sound food production;
* Revival of the kitchen and the table as centers of pleasure, culture,
* Invigoration and proliferation of regional, seasonal culinary
* Creation of a collaborative, ecologically-oriented, and virtuous
* Living a slower and more harmonious rhythm of life.
in the last goal and the Slow Food movements very name
-- is a desire to pay greater attention to the act of eating: an approach
that the research were reporting today suggests could help halt
this countrys fast-growing obesity/diabetes epidemic.
up on our story about the weight control benefits of using smaller
dishes and bowls to achieve portion control see Portion
Control for Weight Control weve found substantial
evidence that it makes sense to savor food more slowly than Americans
posted on the National Institutes of Health Web site, under the heading
Get The (Fullness) Message puts the point succinctly:
Changing the way you go about eating can make it easier to eat
less without feeling deprived. (NHLBI 2007)
line refers to the fact that it takes about 15 minutes for your brain
to receive hormone-borne Im full signals from your
gut. So its logical to presume that eating fast lets you eat
too much before youre fully aware of it.
all of the few studies on the subject suggest that people eat more
when they are doing other things at the same time, such as talking,
reading, or watching TV (Liebman M et al 2003; Salmon J et al 2000).
recently has anyone looked for links between the rate at which people
eat and the risk of becoming overweight.
uncovered four papers published in the past three years, whose combined
results reinforce the value of slower, more mindful dining.
French, and Japanese link overeating to fast eating
fall, researchers from the University of Rhode Island presented a
paper titled Eating Rate and Satiation at the Obesity
Society (NAASO) 2006 Annual Meeting in Boston.
to a press release issued last week, a team led by Kathleen Melanson
recruited people of normal weight, gave them meals, and recorded their
eating speed and calorie intake (Melanson K et al 2006).
expect, the fast eaters among the recruits ate more calories. And
they chowed down about 3.5 times faster than the slower eaters.
to this small unpublished trial, three peer-reviewed studies support
the value of slow eating: a joint French-American investigation and
two reports from Japan, described below.
paradox may rest in part on portion size and eating speed
French paradox refers to the fact that although the French
diet is quite high in cholesterol-raising, calorie-rich, saturated
fats from meat and dairy foods, rates of heart disease and obesity
are lower in France than in the United States.
of the populations relative immunity to cardiovascular disease
is believed to stem from the famous French penchant for vegetables
and red wine, both of which are high in artery-protecting antioxidants.
regard to the other part of the Paradox the rarity of obesity
in France despite its peoples fatty diet -- a joint French-American
team set out to test their hypothesis that the French savor their
food more slowly and in smaller portions, compared with Americans
(Rozin P et al 2003).
members came from the University of Pennsylvania and the government-funded
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique or CNRS in Paris.
authors stated the case,
the French are leaner than Americans.
The mean body mass index
is 24.4 for French adults
compared with 26.6 for American adults
In contrast to the 22.3%
of Americans who qualify as obese (BMI 30), only 7.4% of French so
Although the French eat more fat than Americans, they
probably eat slightly fewer calories. (Rozin P et al 2003)
facts raise an obvious question. Fat contains more than twice as many
calories nine per gram), compared with carbohydrates and protein (four
per gram). Since people in France eat more fat than Americans consume,
how can the French be eating fewer calories?
research proves revealing
and American researchers went to McDonald's fast food joints in urban
shopping districts at the same time of year at lunch time, to record
the time people remained seated with their food.
found that the average American customer spent 35 percent less time
at the table. The French spent an average of 22.2 minutes eating and
sitting at McDonald's, while Americans stayed only 14.4 minutes.
wasnt the only difference the investigators uncovered. They
also found that the French restaurants serve smaller portions.
measured this by visiting other chain restaurants in Paris and Philadelphia,
and measuring the weights of comparable meals being served, or, within
the same chains, the weights of ostensibly identical meals being served.
found that the average portions served, even within the same chain,
were substantially bigger in America (Rozin P et al 2003).
of cookbooks and packaged foods confirm cultural gaps
also compared the total weight of the foods comparable recipes from
two comparable basic cookbooks widely used in each country: The Joy
of Cooking for the United States and the commonly used general French
cookbook Je sais cuisiner.
American books recipes had the bigger portions, by about half.
they compared the sizes of similar products in supermarkets in both
countries, and found that the American chain had bigger portions of
comparable packaged foods, such as frozen entrees.
conclusion puts it clearly and with some wit
we added a word
of clarification in brackets ):
although the French eat less than Americans, they seem to eat for
a longer period of time, and hence have more food experience [enjoyment].
The French can have their cake and eat it as well. (Rozin P
et al 2003)
studies support value of slowing down
first Japanese study, a team from the National Institute of Health
and Nutrition in Tokyo enrolled 1,695 female dietetic students, all
18 years old. Using questionnaires, the researchers collected information
on the students nutrient and fiber intake, body height and weight,
and rate of eating (according to five categories).
showed a significant and positive correlation between
higher rates of eating and higher body mass index or BMI (Sasaki S
et al 2003).
the food factors analyzed, only higher intakes of dietary fiber
not protein, fat, or carbohydrates -- showed a significant, negative
correlation with BMI: and that correlation was weaker than the link
between slower eating and lower BMI.
second study, researchers from Nagoya University recruited middle-aged
civil servants -- 3,737 men and 1,005 women -- who completed surveys
on their estimated rate of eating, current body mass index, their
BMI at age 20, their BMI change since age 20, and their calorie intake
over a one-month period.
showed that the faster eaters were also the fattest folks. As the
Nagoya team said, Our results among middle-aged men and women
suggest that eating fast would lead to obesity. (Otsuka R et
findings suggest that eating slowly is more likely to discourage weight
gain, compared with increasing ones fiber intake.
whole, the results of the four studies provide ample reason to take
it slow at the dinner table: an attitude that will allow you to enjoy
your food much more while reducing the risk of unwanted weight gain.
consider organic whole foods from both plant and animal kingdoms
to be a major key to superior health. We also think it's terribly
important to eat fish at least twice a week to get the essential
fatty acids. Here at our house, we only eat wild Alaskan salmon
and other wild seafoods from our friends at Vital Choice. Click
here to visit Vital Choice Seafood.
Liebman M, Pelican S, Moore SA, Holmes B, Wardlaw MK, Melcher LM,
Liddil AC, Paul LC, Dunnagan T, Haynes GW. Dietary intake, eating
behavior, and physical activity-related determinants of high body
mass index in rural communities in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Int
J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Jun;27(6):684-92.
Melanson K et al. Eating Rate and Satiation. Obesity Society (NAASO)
2006 Annual Meeting. October 20-24, 2006, Hynes Convention Center,
Boston, Massachusett (presentation/session data unavailable), as summarized
in a press release from Scientific Intake via PRNewswire: How To Eat
The Foods You Like And Still Lose Weight - Eat Slower. Wednesday January
3, 2007 6:30 am ET. Atlanta, GA.
NHLBI (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute). Guide to Behavior
Change. Accessed online January 17, 2007 at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/behavior.htm
Otsuka R, Tamakoshi K, Yatsuya H, Murata C, Sekiya A, Wada K, Zhang
HM, Matsushita K, Sugiura K, Takefuji S, OuYang P, Nagasawa N, Kondo
T, Sasaki S, Toyoshima H. Eating fast leads to obesity: findings based
on self-administered questionnaires among middle-aged Japanese men
and women. J Epidemiol. 2006 May;16(3):117-24.
Rozin P, Kabnick K, Pete E, Fischler C, Shields C. The ecology of
eating: smaller portion sizes in France than in the United States
help explain the French paradox. Psychol Sci. 2003 Sep;14(5):450-4.
Rozin P. The meaning of food in our lives: a cross-cultural perspective
on eating and well-being. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2005 Nov-Dec;37 Suppl
Salmon J, Bauman A, Crawford D, Timperio A, Owen N. The association
between television viewing and overweight among Australian adults
participating in varying levels of leisure-time physical activity.
Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 May;24(5):600-6.
Sasaki S, Katagiri A, Tsuji T, Shimoda T, Amano K. Self-reported rate
of eating correlates with body mass index in 18-y-old Japanese women.
Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Nov;27(11):1405-10.
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