Node Smith, ND
Eating Quickly is known to be less than Favorable for Digestion
Yes! Eating at your desk, in your car, or on the run is not the healthiest way to take in a meal. Eating on the go often equates to eating extremely quickly, which is known to be less than favorable for digestion. A big part of this is that by eating quickly, the stomach isn’t given time to register to the brain that you are full. This leads to overeating. This could be the correlation between fast paced eating and heart disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome.
“Fast Eaters” more Likely to Develop Metabolic Syndrome, According to Research
Researchers from Hiroshima University in Japan looked at the eating rates of over 1,000 individuals over a 5 year period. They found that the “fast eaters” were 11.6% more likely to develop metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is defined as having 3 of the following risk factors: obesity, high blood pressure, high levels of LDL and triglycerides, or high blood sugar while fasting.
Hormones Responsible for Signaling the Brain that the Stomach is full can take 15-20 Minutes to have an Effect
It is thought that the hormones responsible for signaling the brain that the stomach is full can take 15-20 minutes to have an effect. These hormones are released when the stomach is stretched from consumption of food. When we eat extremely fast, and these hormones aren’t registered, there is a strong tendency to overeat. In another Japanese study, of more than 3,000 men and women, it was found that those who ate quickly and continued until they were full were 3 times more likely to be overweight than those who ate slowly. Quick eaters also had more acid reflux. In a study from China, it was seen that by slowing down and chewing one’s food more thoroughly, caloric intake decreased by 10%.
If Slowing Down is not an Option, Try Drinking a Large Glass of Water Before Meals
Slowing down can be a powerful way to consume less per meal, however, this may not always be possible. There are other methods for activating those stretch receptors in the stomach to help you eat less. One popular method is drinking a large glass of water or two, before meals. Another helpful way to enhance digestion if you don’t have a lot of time, is to drink a small amount of apple cider vinegar 15 minutes before a meal. This might take a little forethought, but it will actually initiate digestion so that when it’s time to eat, your stomach is ready to get a huge amount of food in a short amount of time. This isn’t an ideal way to eat, but if you’re struggling with a time crunch, or have to eat on the move, it could help.
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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.