Stop and Enjoy Your Food to Prevent Metabolic Syndrome

Spread the love

family-mealWhile exercise has been shown to reduce obesity and other health conditions, including helping prevent Syndrome X, a metabolic illness largely characterized by resistance to insulin, new research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in California suggests that people who eat slowly are less likely than speed-eaters to become obese or to develop metabolic syndrome. Syndrome X, or metabolic syndrome, has been proven to be a lead-in to developing diabetes and heart disease, and may affect an estimated 20-40% of North Americans.

According to the author, eating more slowly may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome. If you eat quickly, you tend to overeat because you tend not to feel full. Eating quickly also causes bigger glucose fluctuation, which can lead to insulin resistance.

Researchers looked at 642 men and 441 women with an average age of 51.2 years, none of whom had metabolic syndrome in 2008. The participants were then divided into three groups depending on what they said their usual eating speed was: slow, normal or fast.

Coming back to the group after 5 years, the researchers found that 11.6% of fast eaters had developed metabolic syndrome, compared with 6.5% of the normal eaters, and 2.3% of the slower eaters.

Fast eaters were also associated with gaining more weight, higher blood glucose levels, and a larger waistline. Part of the reason seems to be that the stomach doesn’t have time to tell the body that it’s filling up, so we end up eating more than we need to.

One suggestion to prevent  metabolic syndrome and associated illnesses is taking time to chew your food. Taking time to chew has many added benefits including:

• Absorbing more nutrients from your food. Chewing breaks your food down from large particles into smaller particles that are more easily digested. This also makes it easier for your intestines to absorb nutrients from the food particles as they pass through.

• Your food gets more exposure to saliva. Saliva contains digestive enzymes, so the longer you chew, the more time these enzymes have to start breaking down your food, making digestion easier on your stomach and small intestine. One of these enzymes is lingual lipase, an enzyme that helps break down fats, for example. Saliva also helps to lubricate your food so it’s easier on your esophagus.

• Aids in digestion. The chewing process predigests your food into small pieces and partially liquefies it, making it easier to digest.

• Enjoying and actually tasting your food. If you rush through your meal with hardly any chewing, you’re also not really tasting or enjoying the food. When you take the time to properly chew your food, it forces you to slow down, savor each morsel, and really enjoy all the flavors your food has to offer.

As well as taking more time to chew, the American Heart Association recommends eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as exercising more, as ways to reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Photo from here, with thanks.

Our Bloggers

  • Paula Gallagher
    Paula Gallagher
    Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
    read more..
  • Margo Gladding
    Margo Gladding
    Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
    read more..
  • Dr. Neal Barnard
    Dr. Neal Barnard
    Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
    read more..
  • Joseph Pizzorno
    Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
    Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
    read more..
  • Debi Silber
    Debi Silber
    Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
    read more..
  • Teri Cochrane
    Teri Cochrane
    Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
    read more..
  • Dr. Rav Ivker
    Dr. Rav Ivker
    Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
    read more..
  • Susan Levin
    Susan Levin
    Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
    read more..
  • Rob Brown
    Dr. Rob Brown
    Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.
    read more..
January 2023