Eating more slowly could help people limit the amount of calories they consume, Medical Daily reported.
In a study from Texas Christian University, researchers recruited a group of normal-weight participants and a group of overweight or obese participants to take part in an experiment in which they were required to eat two meals. During one meal, participants had no timetable and were asked to eat slowly, chew thoroughly and take small bites. During the second meal, participants had a limited timetable and were asked to take large bites, chew quickly and keep their spoon in their hand the entire time.
The researchers then analyzed how the speed of eating impacted certain factors such as calorie consumption, feelings of hunger and fullness before and after a meal, and the amount of water consumed during meals.
When eating slowly, the participants from the normal-weight group reduced their overall calorie intake by 88 calories. The participants from the overweight or obese group reduced calorie intake by 58 calories, compared to when they were forced to eat quickly.
The study authors noted that the slight difference between the two groups may be explained by the fact that the obese or overweight participants consumed less food overall during the experiment. Researchers posited this may be because the overweight or obese participants felt more self-conscious when eating.
When eating more slowly, both groups also consumed more water during their meals and reported feeling less hungry for a longer period of time after the meal was over.
"Slowing the speed of eating may help to lower energy intake and suppress hunger levels, and may even enhance the enjoyment of a meal," said lead study author Meena Shah, professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University.