Eating Speed Affects Weight Gain

Published on: 08/24/2022

Eating slowly might help with weight loss

Studies show that people who eat fast tend to gain more weight.(1)

Fast eating is also associated with larger waist circumference and BMI*, a higher incidence of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, and higher post-prandial blood glucose spikes (2-5).

So, if you’re struggling with excess weight or elevated blood sugars, then slowing down your eating might be helpful. Slowed eating results in higher production of the appetite-suppressing hormones PYY* and GLP-1*, which in turn leads to a greater sense of satiety and consumption of less food.(6,7) Taking your time during meals can also improve digestion and prevent reflux.

Taking your time during meals can also improve digestion and prevent reflux. It allows your body time to switch into “rest and digest” mode which stimulates production of acid and enzymes to break down food.

Try these strategies for slowing down:

  • Chew each bite of food at least 15-30 times before swallowing
  • Put down your utensils between every bite
  • Drink a sip of water between bites
  • Use smaller forks or spoons to eat (or try chopsticks)
  • Eat with your non-dominant hand
  • Eat with other people – conversation will slow down your eating
  • Set aside time in your day to sit down and eat without distraction
  • Avoid distracted eating – turn off the TV, put away the devices, stop working and focus on your food
  • Eat foods that require more “work” (e.g., shelled nuts, meat which requires cutting)
  • Avoid eating on the go
  • Don’t skip meals and have healthy snacks readily available to avoid feeling starved
  • Practice mindful eating (

Are you a fast eater?

Let me know in the comments if you try any of these strategies

* Abbreviations: BMI=body mass index, PYY=peptide tyrosine tyrosine, GLP-1=glucagon-like peptide


1. Tanihara S, Imatoh T, Miyazaki M, et al. Retrospective longitudinal study on the relationship between 8-year weight change and current eating speed. Appetite. 2011;57(1):179-183. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2011.04.017

2. Kolay E, Bykowska-Derda A, Abdulsamad S, et al. Self-Reported Eating Speed Is Associated with Indicators of Obesity in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Healthcare (Basel). 2021;9(11):1559. Published 2021 Nov 16. doi:10.3390/healthcare9111559

3. Totsuka K, Maeno T, Saito K, et al. Self-reported fast eating is a potent predictor of development of impaired glucose tolerance in Japanese men and women: Tsukuba Medical Center Study. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2011;94(3):e72-e74. doi:10.1016/j.diabres.2011.08.015

4. Nagahama S, Kurotani K, Pham NM, et al. Self-reported eating rate and metabolic syndrome in Japanese people: cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 2014;4(9):e005241. Published 2014 Sep 5. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005241

5. Saito Y, Kajiyama S, Nitta A, et al. Eating Fast Has a Significant Impact on Glycemic Excursion in Healthy Women: Randomized Controlled Cross-Over Trial. Nutrients. 2020;12(9):2767. Published 2020 Sep 10. doi:10.3390/nu12092767

6. Andrade AM, Greene GW, Melanson KJ. Eating slowly led to decreases in energy intake within meals in healthy women. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108(7):1186-1191. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2008.04.026

7. Argyrakopoulou G, Simati S, Dimitriadis G, Kokkinos A. How Important Is Eating Rate in the Physiological Response to Food Intake, Control of Body Weight, and Glycemia?. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1734. Published 2020 Jun 10. doi:10.3390/nu12061734


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Hi! I’m Dora – an unconventional pharmacist turned functional medicine nutritionist. I’m also a mom of twins and an autoimmune warrior.

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