Thursday, November 5, 2009

Slow Down, Big Boy

I'm a notoriously fast eater. Once, at a ballgame, I downed an entire bratwurst with all the fixings before my buddy had a chance to take even one bite out of his hot dog. "You're like a snake," he told me. "You unhinged your jaw and swallowed it whole."

But now, there's a study that indicates that I'm not doing myself any favors by speed-shoveling food into my mouth. Greek scientists examined appetite-reducing hormones by conducting an experiment: Participants in a test group were each given the same amount of ice cream. One group of individuals was instructed to down the dessert in five minutes or less, while the other was given half an hour to eat. Everyone's hormone levels were tested before, during, and after they ate the ice cream. In the group that quickly gobbled up their dessert, the researchers didn't find the release of appetite-reducing hormones. These people didn't feel full after stuffing themselves with ice cream.

"Eating at a physiologically moderate pace leads to a more pronounced anorexigenic gut peptide [appetite reduction] response than eating very fast," concluded the scientists.
The notion that eating quickly leads to weight gain used to be considered "an old wives' tale," the researchers say, but their study suggests there is some truth to it.
"Our findings give some insight into an aspect of modern-day food overconsumption, namely the fact that many people, pressed by demanding working and living conditions, eat faster and in greater amounts than in the past," Kokkinos says in the news release. "The warning we were given as children that 'wolfing down your food will make you fat' may in fact have a physiological explanation."
I guess my days of unhinging my jaw to quickly swallow live animals are over.