Slow is the New Sexy!
Do you inhale your food like it’s The Last Supper? Snort it down like a finalist in a pie-eating contest? Then you probably haven’t heard the old Indian proverb that says, “Drink your food, chew your drink!” Translation: It’s a good idea to eat slowly and to chew our foods thoroughly enough to liquefy them and, when drinking, swoosh our beverages around in our mouths before swallowing so that enzymes in our saliva can begin working their magic.
Breaking Bad in 2015
If you’re a “goody-two-chews” who toothlessly scarfs back meals with “now you see it, now you don’t” speed, then the above sage advice could be a game-changer for your health and your waistline. Breaking the bad habit of speed eating can help improve digestion (so you look and feel better), help you absorb more nutrients from the food you eat (so you look and feel better) and even fire up your metabolism (so you look and feel better). Yes, as boring as it seems, eating slowly is a smart weight-loss strategy!
According to researchers at the University of Rhode Island, if you consciously stop to take a breath between bites, chew at least 20-30 times or put your fork down between bites, you can cut your food (and calorie) intake by 10 percent. Based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, that would amount to 200 fewer calories each day, 1,400 fewer a week and 72,800 fewer a year—enough to lose 20 pounds of flab!
Fast = Fat?
Eating fast actually SLOWS your metabolism, mostly because it’s a STRESSOR to the body. It’s not a natural thing. In a stress response, the hormones cortisol and insulin can shoot up, slowing down fat-burning capacity. Fast eating also decreases enzyme output in the gut and even reduces blood flow there. (Got heartburn? Not chewing your food enough could be the culprit!) Eating quickly also deregulates your appetite. You’ve probably heard it takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain, “Hey, Brain! I’m full! We can stop eating now!” But eating too fast means your brain never gets the message and thinks you’re still hungry, so you end up eating more.
When you choke down an order of fries like my sister Greta does a box of Turtles at Christmas, your stomach’s left to deal with your mouth’s hasty, incomplete work. That would be fine if we had an extra set of teeth in our stomach, but since we don’t, your stomach can’t do its job properly. That puts a huge burden on your pancreas, which is responsible for supplying the remaining digestive enzymes. After years of dealing with poor chewsing and poor chewing, your pancreas can become exhausted and wave the white flag. A whole chain reaction occurs right through your digestive tract. By the time those fries end up in your large intestine, they’re an incompletely digested mass of spuds just sitting there and fermenting – perfect feed for the disease-causing bacterial critters that live there! Zoinks!
So, if you want to slim down, you’ve gotta slow down. To get on the right health track, train yourself to chew. Chew, chew, train!