I'm going to ask you a couple of questions about your eating habits and then I'm going to use your answers to make some conclusions about your physique. Okay, here goes:
- Do you consider yourself a fast eater, a slow eater, or a Goldilocks, just-the-right-speed eater?
- Compared to your Uncle Bubby, your mee-maw, little John Boy, or anybody else you eat with regularly, do you eat faster than them, slower than them, or at the same speed?
If you consider yourself a fast eater – someone who could beat either a wolf or speed eater Joey "Jaws" Chestnut in an eating contest – or you've observed that you're usually the first to finish your meal, chances are you're not as lean as you want to be and you have trouble putting on muscle. You may even find that you don't feel as well as you think you should.
How'd I do? If I was right, it helps confirm the findings of an epidemiological study conducted by Lithuanian researchers. They observed that fast eaters were twice as likely to have Type II diabetes. Based on this observation and what we know about insulin, eating speed clearly has a lot do with how well insulin does its job.
If insulin secretion is hampered, as it is when you eat fast, nutrients don't get transported to your muscles as efficiently as they do to fat. It also means that you probably don't absorb nutrients all that well. Speed eat long enough and, in addition to hurting your physique and metabolism, you could possibly develop Type II diabetes.
How They Figured it Out
The researchers submitted questions about eating speed to 702 people, 234 of which had been diagnosed with Type II diabetes, and 468 who did not have Type II diabetes. It turned out that fast eaters were more than twice as likely to have Type II diabetes as slow eaters.
No single study proves or disproves any one idea, belief, or theory, but this one smells right. If you eat quickly, insulin doesn't get to do its job correctly and the whole intricate mechanism of digestion is disturbed. Nutrients don't get fully absorbed and macronutrients end up getting stored as fat rather than being used to build muscle.
Furthermore, as other studies have found, if you eat slowly, you end up eating less, and that ultimately means less body fat.
Try slowing yourself down by putting your fork or spoon down between bites. Likewise, don't check messages or text while eating, as this may allow your subconscious to take over and put your fork into power-dive mode. Instead, be conscious of what you're doing and take your time. Your body will reward you.
- Radzevičienė L et al. Fast eating and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a case-control study. Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;32(2):232-5. PubMed.