You’ve likely heard of the many reasons to eat slowly, including improved digestion, increased satiety, decreased overeating, and even weight loss. But did you know that eating too quickly can contribute to a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome (MetS)? New research indicates that fast easting speed is significantly associated with increased odds of developing MetS independent of total energy intake and BMI.
What is MetS?
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of elevated blood sugar, cholesterol or triglycerides, blood pressure and excess weight, particularly body fat around the waist. MetS is considered an inflammation-driven “gateway condition,” leading to an increased risk of type II diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, cancers, dementia, and autoimmune disease. It is estimated that approximately 38% of adults in the United States have MetS.
How can you slow your eating?
One of our favorite ways to center ourselves before eating is to use some form of gratitude. Giving (or even just thinking) some thanks for the food on our plate increases our parasympathetic tone, which brings our stress levels and go-go-go energy down.
Another favorite is to really focus on tasting each bite. Too often we don’t pay much attention to how our food tastes. Savor the flavors as they unfold on your palate. Chew your food until it is fully softened before swallowing.
More lifestyle and dietary support for MetS:
Lifestyle choices play a significant role in reducing MetS risk, especially exercise and stress management. Daily exercise and movement, including aerobic, strength training and restorative practices such as yoga, qi gong, and meditation support weight management and reduce stress. In addition, adequate sleep (at least 7-8 hours of deep sleep) is associated with lower MetS risk.
Several dietary eating patterns and nutrients have been studied for MetS. Choose organic and local foods, focusing on colorful plant-foods, reducing processed foods, and sugar intake. Replace high glycemic carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates and fiber-rich foods such as legumes, whole grains and dark leafy greens. Get creative trying new recipes and cooking with herbs and spices with anti-inflammatory properties such as black pepper, bay leaf, cumin, coriander, clove, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme.