Americans are always on the go and being on the run constantly has become normal. People can often be heard saying, I don’t have time; I don’t have time to exercise, I don’t have time for breakfast. Eating
healthy is no different from other situations that arise; time needs to be made. One of the biggest food issues in our culture today is eating fast. A meal should take between 20-30 minutes to finish, not 10 -15 minutes like most do.
Slowing down your pace of eating may sound simple but this behavior change can be quite difficult. For most people, they barely cut up their food into small pieces, let alone chew it. It is recommended that a person chews 20-30 times per bite. The average American takes around 5-7 chews per bite. When food isn’t chewed properly, it puts the digestive tract under a great deal of stress, likely causing digestive problems. The first step in digestion begins in your mouth. The more you can break down your food during the first step, the better off your body will be and the slower your eating pace will become. It will also allow you to get back to tasting your food and enjoying what you are eating.
Studies have also shown that the slower a person eats the fewer amount of calories they take in, leading to weight loss. One of the hormones in your body that you should know is the hormone Leptin. Leptin is your “I’m Full” hormone. This is the one that tells you to stop eating. The thing that most people forget to realize is that your body needs time to register that you are filling up on food. It needs time for the digestive and hormonal process to kick in. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t have a scale in your stomach that shuts down after reaching a certain limit. It needs time for your hormones to release and be sent to your brain. That time takes roughly 20-30 minutes. When you eat faster than that, you tend to eat past the point of being satisfied and cross over to being full. This process is also knows as overeating.
Taking twenty minutes to eat can be easier said than done. There are some simple things that you can do to help you achieve eating slower. One example would be to put your fork down between bites and do not pick it up until you have finished swallowing. Doing this action forces you to slow down as well as allowing you to enjoy what you are eating. Another example would be to try and chew 20 times, every bite before swallowing. Though you may find this a tedious method, you will quickly realize how little you were chewing your food. Moreover, eat foods that take longer to breakdown such as protein and dietary fiber opposed to sugars, fats and carbohydrates. Sugars, fats and carbohydrates get digested quickly, allowing you to eat more of them. The more complex foods, such as protein and dietary fibe, need time for your body to break them down. Finally, have three meals regularly each day. When you skip meals your body will start sending you hunger pains which makes it very hard to slow down your pace of eating.
Taking time to finish your meals used to be something everyone did. With our changing society, our way of eating has also been modified. Eating slowly will allow you to create a healthy, happy and stress free body. If you have the luxury to have food on your plate every day, don’t take that for granted. Take the time to enjoy the food you bought with your hard earned money.