What if there were a way for you to lose weight without giving up the foods you love, counting calories or living on weight-loss shakes? What if this involved no exercise, pills, patches or the latest highly hyped, but ultimately under-delivering potion? In other words, no added expense or uncomfortable detour from your accustomed lifestyle. Would you be interested? Depends? Let's see!
According to recently reported research out of Holland, there is a simple technique we can use to easily lose weight or keep from adding adipose tissue. The Dutch nutrition researchers had subjects take smaller or larger bite sizes combined with faster or slower bite speeds. More specifically, consuming a yummy chocolate dessert (my choice of words -- not theirs), some participants took teaspoon-size bites and kept the food in their mouths for 9 seconds, while another group consumed tablespoon-size bites and swallowed the tasty morsel after having it next to their taste buds for just 3 seconds. After having measured the difference in the amount of food each group chose to consume, the researchers concluded that having more sensory exposure to a food "...significantly decreases food intake."
However, this is not exactly new knowledge. Another study, this one out of the University of Rhode Island, had previously shown a correlation between eating slowly and decreased calorie consumption. Research conducted at Nagoya University in Japan found that eating fast is a factor that promotes obesity in middle-aged men and women. In yet another study, a handful of almonds chewed 40 times quelled hunger better than 10 or even 25 chews. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association (July 2008) reported on a study where 30 women were instructed to eat as much as they wanted --until satisfied. Over the course of several meals they were asked to eat quickly or slowly. The slower eating resulted in an average of 67 fewer calories being consumed per meal and greater satisfaction with the meal. Multiply 67 times three meals plus snacks and you have a reduction of well over 200 calories per day. That's equivalent to about a pound lost every two weeks, or 26 pounds a year, by merely taking smaller bite sizes, chewing the food a little longer and savoring it more.
There are several advantages to adopting littler bite sizes and chewing our food more thoroughly:
- First, the food stays in contact with your tongue's taste buds longer. This results in more enjoyment of the flavors of our food for a longer period of time
- Second, the food is better mixed with the saliva (starting the digestive process) and masticated more thoroughly for better digestion -- as a result, we get more of the nutrients in the food to our cells for improved well-being
- It takes about 20 minutes for the sensation of fullness to register in the brain and stomach. When one practically "inhales" his food -- not an uncommon practice -- it's easy to eat beyond satiety before your stomach has had time to say, "I'm comfortably full -- please, no more food."
- We end up with all the pleasure of eating our favorite foods without overeating
- There's nothing to buy and nothing to lose by trying this, except maybe some unwanted pounds
What we're talking about here is conscious eating, savoring your favorite foods more and feeling more appreciation for them. You don't need to count your number of chews, either -- just take smaller bite sizes and chew the food (or let it linger in your mouth longer in the case of puddings, soups and such) until you've extracted all the heavenly flavor and enjoyment that that bite of food has to offer you. We're betting this way of eating will give you more pleasure with less food -- fewer calories -- consumed. It does for me.
Of course, we're not advocating not getting the exercise your body and brain thrive on or not choosing nutrient-dense foods over empty-calorie ones. We're just saying that here's a way to get more pleasure (and more nutrients to your body) while enjoying eating less food. It's worth a try, don't you think? Let us know how it works for you. Losing weight or maintaining your current weight without increasing your exercise, dieting, spending more money or turning your life upside down -- what could be better?
Ed Mayhew is a leading authority on slowing and reversing aging, who through his speaking engagements, books, CDs and newsletters, helps Boomers thrive! His age-redefining books include: Fitter After 50, Fitter for Life and AGE BLASTERS: 3 Steps to a Younger You Visit him at: www.YouCanGrowYounger.com www.FitterForLife.com AND Ask for your F*R*E*E** Fitter After 50 e-newsletter