Eating fast is bad for digestion and increases calorie intake

The way we eat also affects how much we eat. Smaller bites, for example, help cut calories. But that’s not all. There are also digestive benefits to chewing well and not gulping down food.

When you’ve eaten quickly, you often feel bloated, totally exhausted and unwell. This subjective feeling is not deceptive. The influence of fast eating and the duration of chewing on digestion and calorie intake has been investigated by several studies.

Influence of fast eating on the intake of calories
A recent, small study comes from Pennsylvania State University (USA).¹ The researchers filmed 44 women and men between the ages of 18 and 68 eating lunch. The men and women were given a portion of macaroni and cheese (energy: 1.4 kilocalories per gram) once a week for four weeks. The portion size was different each time and varied between 400 and 700 grams. The researchers observed: How quickly did they eat and how big were the bites? Before and after the meal, the plates were weighed to see how much was eaten.

The result: Those who eat quickly or take larger bites often eat more food and thus more calories. They also provided further evidence that people often eat more when their plates are filled more lavishly. According to the study, participants ate an average of 43 percent more when the portion was 75 percent larger.

Study provides conclusions for saving calories

For people who want to eat less and save calories, very practical conclusions can be drawn from the results. If you pay attention to portion sizes, eat more slowly and take smaller bites, you avoid overeating, explains study lead author Paige Cunningham in an American Society of Nutrition (ASN) release on the research findings.
If one doesn’t like to forgo larger portions, she says, one can try to keep calorie intake in check via the ingredients chosen. “This allows one to eat the same filling portion while taking in fewer calories,” he said.

Eating fast is bad for digestion
Not only in terms of calories, but also for digestion, how fast you eat your food plays a crucial role. Because it is hard work for the body. And hard work requires energy, which is then lacking in the brain, for example. The consequence is the feared Mensa or soup coma, explains Susanne Leitzen of the German society for nutrition.

Thus develops Food coma
There are three main reasons for near-fainting after eating: “If you eat too much, too fast and too greasy.” Leitzen therefore advises, above all, to enjoy lunch – that is, to eat slowly and mindfully, even if it is difficult in the hectic everyday life. That means, for example, not checking a few emails on the side, not eating at your desk or in front of the TV. “The focus should be on eating,” says the expert.

Because if you eat too quickly and only on the side, first of all you don’t chew properly. This work must then do the digestive tract. And secondly, casual eaters quickly miss the body’s “I’m full” signal and therefore eat far too much.

Not chewing properly can make you tired
The soup coma is not only a consequence of unhealthy food. “Raw vegetables can also make you tired if you don’t chew properly,” says Leitzen. However, very fatty food is naturally heavier in the stomach than vegetables or whole grain products. The expert therefore advises to avoid fried and breaded foods, for example. And: “Vegetables and starch side dishes should make up the main part on the plate.”

Sources: 1. Cunnigham, Paige et al: Do behaviors such as eating faster or taking larger bites moderate the portion size effect? (2021).


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