Maintaining a healthy weight may involve more than just what we eat. Turns out how we eat matters, too. Earlier this week, researchers at the University of Rhode Island found people who eat slowly consume fewer calories than speedier eaters. There’s science behind it: Our bodies need time to feel full, so the more slowly we eat, the more time there is for those “pleeeease no food coma!” signals to register in the brain.
The results showed fast eaters ate around three ounces of food per minute, while slowpokes only ate about two ounces. Results also showed gender differences: Men ate considerably faster than women, chomping down an average of 80 calories a minute compared to a female’s 50.
Perhaps the coolest finding was that eating speed depends on the type of food being consumed. Participants consumed whole grain cereal and whole wheat toast significantly more slowly than refined grains like white bread and baked goods. Scientists surmise all that fiber in whole grains is to blame, since they require more chew time.
So the next time a stack of pancakes ends up on the breakfast table, take a tip from these researchers: Slow down. We might not be able to lick our plate clean, after all.