KATHMANDU — Losing weight is not an easy feat to accomplish, even when you have set a specific target. It requires hard work, discipline, dedication, immense will-power, and self-control.
But, eating slowly could help prevent obesity, according to a study looking at type 2 diabetics, in which researchers find a link to both lower waist circumference and Body Mass Index (BMI).
“Interventions aimed at altering eating habits, such as education initiatives and programmes to reduce eating speed, may be useful in preventing obesity and reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases,” the Japanese researchers write in the report published in the journal BMJ Open.
For this research involving nearly 60,000 Japanese people, results showed a link between eating slower or faster and losing or gaining weight.
It is a slow and steady process and many people go to all sorts of lengths to achieve their desired goals like trying out all sorts of diets that suit their requirements or have been proven effective, in order to quicken the process. But a lot of people even tend to give up halfway through their journey, simply because they run out of patience.
“Changes in eating habit can affect changes in obesity, BMI and waist circumference,” a research duo from Japan’s Kyushu University wrote.
“Interventions aimed at reducing eating speed may be effective in preventing obesity and lowering the associated health risks.”
BMI is ratio of weight-to-height used to determine whether a person falls within a healthy range. The WHO considers someone with a BMI of 25 overweight, and 30 or higher obese.
In line with recommendations by the Japanese Society for the Study of Obesity, however, a BMI of 25 was taken as obese for Japanese populations for the purposes of the study.
The participants had regular check-ups from 2008 to 2013. Data captured included their age and gender, BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, eating habits, alcohol consumption, and tobacco use.
From the outset, the slow-eating group of 4,192 had a smaller average waist circumference, a mean BMI of 22.3, and fewer obese individuals – 21.5 percent of the total.
By comparison, more than 44 percent of the fast-eating group of 22,070 people, was obese, with a mean BMI of 25. The team also noted changes in eating speed over the six years, with more than half the trial group reporting an adjustment in one direction or the other.
“The main results indicated that decreases in eating speeds can lead to reductions in obesity and BMI,” they found. Other factors that could help people lose weight, according to the data, included to stop snacking after dinner, and not to eat within two hours of going to bed.
Skipping breakfast did not seem to have any effect. Limitations of the study included that eating speed and other behaviors were self-reported. There was also no data on how much participants ate, or whether they exercised or not.
Commenting on the research, Simon Cork of Imperial College London said it “confirms what we already believe, that eating slowly is associated with less weight gain than eating quickly.”
With Agency Inputs