Discover the benefits of eating slow. It helps in digestion and also in losing weight, a fact not known to many

In today’s hectic world, meals are just snatched moments of one’s frenzied days. When was the last time you sat down to a relaxed and leisurely meal at home?

Breakfast is gulped down. If not you will be late for work. Lunch usually well past lunch hour is a harried episode where enormous bites are forced down, as an important assignment is due late noon. At dinner you are too tired and hungry and can’t wait to eat fast and hit the bed. Grab a meal has become more of a byword today than eat a meal.

Health benefits

It’s a known fact that eating slowly has many health benefits. Digestion begins in the mouth and when you eat slowly food is chewed properly into tiny bits for an easy passage through the digestive system. It gives your stomach a head start and sufficient warning to gear itself up for its functions and better chances of absorbing the food. These are some of the basic facts which though we know, we don’t usually follow for reasons best known to us.

When you wolf down your meal, say in five minutes, then discomforts like flatulence, heartburn, burps and belches overpower you quickly. Instead take twenty minutes to eat the same food and your stomach shall have an easier time.

Besides these there are more important reasons to eat slowly which many maybe unaware of. The most important of them all is that slow eating can result in weight loss. Eat slowly and lose weight. In today’s health conscious world this bit of weight loss wisdom if widely known and understood can surely be the biggest motivation and impetus to eat leisurely.

But how does eating unhurriedly result in shedding fat? Do we consume far less calories if we eat slowly? Dr. Antony Chettupuzha, Gastroenterologist, Lakeshore Hospital reveals the inside story of our belly. Explaining some basic facts about our digestive system he says, “Eating slowly can surely make you lose weight. One should make it a habit. For it has been observed that it takes around fifteen to twenty minutes for your belly to tell your brain, ‘I am full’. When we eat fast and gulp down the food by the time our brain finally gets a chance to tell us it’s enough we are not just full but stuffed and bloated. If we eat slowly we have time to realize that our tummy is full and stop on time.”

An unhealthy practice eating fast is not just common but also considered normal by a vast majority. For many eat fast more out of habit than hurry. Others who eat fast when tense or upset also eat up their emotions adding to their stress. But beware, for it is said our stomach is like a balloon. It can expand to fill a meal fit for a regiment.

“Besides,” observes Antony Chettupuzha, “eating slowly also gives us a greater feeling of fullness and people who eat fast are thus more likely to feel hungry sooner than those who ate slow.”

Dieticians, who recommend twenty minutes a meal, advise one to take a few deep breaths before a meal to instil a better sense of awareness to control rushed eating. Time honoured traditions, now extinct, of saying grace or offering a silent prayer of gratitude before eating, sure had its significance.

Chewing with your mouth closed is not just a matter of etiquette. It also prevents sucking in air that may trigger embarrassing wind during unexpected moments.

For all you fast eaters, eating slowly and chewing thoroughly can take some time getting used to. But practise it to make it a habit, for it is one of the best nutrition tips. Remember there is no emergency. Relax, eat slowly. It’s not your last supper.

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Notes on nutritionFebruary 7, 2013