Participants were asked about the speed at which they ate food - fast, normal or slow - as well as about other diet habits, including eating dinner within two hours of going to sleep, after-dinner snacking, and skipping breakfast.
The findings of the study showed that slow eaters tend to be healthier and possess a healthier lifestyle compared to those who eat at either a fast or normal speed. It is also considered important dietary advice to not eat after the evening meal, or in the two hours before bedtime.
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Referring to the study's methods, however, he warned that relying on the participants themselves to score whether they eat slowly or quickly was "considerably subjective" and may skew the data.
As well, eating breakfast is also supported by the new research. The research team followed more than 59,000 men and women in Japan suffering from the Type 2 Diabetes and asked them to rate their own speed of eating as faster, normal or slower.
In a study published in the BMJ Open, researchers analyzed data from nearly 60,000 people in Japan with type 2 diabetes who came in for medical appointments between 2008 and 2013.
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It is to be noted that the study did not conclude that the speed of eating prevented obesity, only that they are linked.
Simon Cork, of Imperial College London, told Agence France-Presse that the study "confirms what we already believe: that eating slowly is associated with less weight gain than eating quickly". 'Interventions aimed at reducing eating speed may be effective in preventing obesity and lowering the associated health risks'. But those who ate slowly were up to 42 percent less likely to be obese. Skipping breakfast was not. "Eating quickly also causes bigger blood sugar fluctuations which can lead to insulin resistance", said Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum.
Researchers wanted to see how eating speed over time, and a range of other eating behaviours, affected people's likelihood of being obese. The study tracked almost 60,000 people and discovered that how fast they ate and the timing of their evening meal and snacks appeared to be significant factors in whether they ended up obese or managed to lose weight. People who say they eat "slowly" (7% of those surveyed) had a lower waist circumference on average. It was published in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ Open, which is available to read free online. "Those who naturally eat slowly may be attending to their body's cues for fullness, and eat a more appropriate portion during each eating occasion", Nina Crowley, Ph.D., a registered dietitian nutritionist and health psychologist working at the Medical University of SC, told CBS News.
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Slow eaters also tended to be healthier, and to have healthier habits, than their faster-eating peers.