Do you eat your food too fast? Read this before you wolf down another bite
By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 21, 2023
We’ve all been there – hastily cramming our suitcases with clothes, makeup, accessories, and shoes, without any order or organization. And what happens? Our suitcase ends up bursting open or refusing to close because of the careless overstuffing.
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Believe it or not, your digestive system works the same way. If you want it to function smoothly and avoid a host of health problems, you need to eat mindfully and slowly.
The importance of chewing slowly
“Scientifically speaking, eating fast can cause various mental, emotional, and physical health issues and should be avoided,” says Ruhaan Rajput, a nutritionist and founder of Gloss Clinic in Mumbai. Here’s why you should take your time with your food:
1. Digestion problems
When you swallow your food without properly chewing it, you invite a range of digestion problems, such as acidity and bloating. Rajput emphasizes the importance of breaking down your food into easily digestible fragments by chewing it thoroughly.
2. Weight gain
The digestion process actually begins in your mouth, and by not allowing enough time for the saliva to break down the food into simpler sugars, your stomach has to release more acid to break it down once it reaches there. This increased acid production can make you feel hungry and lead to overeating. Over time, it can also slow down your metabolism, contributing to weight gain.
Additionally, it takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to receive satiety signals and make you feel full. Chewing your food slowly gives your body enough time to realize that you’re satisfied and should stop eating. This way, you can avoid overeating and keep your weight in check.
3. Heart problems and heartburn
Aside from obesity, which increases the risk of heart disease in the long run, the extra acid produced by the stomach due to fast eating can lead to severe heartburn.
4. Insulin resistance and diabetes
Obesity caused by fast eating also increases the chances of developing diabetes or insulin resistance. Proper control of blood sugar levels is crucial to maintaining a healthy life.
How should you eat then?
1. Bite-size matters
Rajput recommends starting with bite-size portions equal to the gap between the tip and middle line of your index finger. Controlling your bite-size ensures that you chew your food thoroughly.
2. Chewing is key
Chew each bite of food around 15-20 times before swallowing. This breaks down the food into smaller pieces, making it easier for your digestive system to process.
3. Hydrate wisely
Having a few sips of water before eating can lubricate your mouth and food pipe, helping saliva turn the food into a paste more efficiently. However, avoid drinking water during or immediately after your meal. Wait for an hour before drinking two glasses of water to prevent bloating and improve digestion.
4. Eat mindfully
During your meals, focus on your food, allowing yourself to realize when you’re satiated and enjoy your meal. Avoid distractions like TV, newspapers, or conversations while eating. Avoid eating in a rush or urgency, as it hinders proper chewing.
5. Practice conscious eating
Although it may require some dedication, incorporating slow eating habits is not as hard as it seems. “Start by counting the number of times you chew each bite,” suggests Rajput. He also recommends choosing healthy and light foods, especially at night, and reducing fast food consumption if you haven’t already adopted slow and mindful eating habits.
Remember, slowing down and savoring your food not only promotes better digestion but also allows you to fully enjoy the experience of eating. So, the next time you sit down for a meal, take your time and relish every bite.