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The Health Risks of Eating Too Fast

Are you guilty of eating your meals in 10 minutes flat? Here’s why eating too fast may not be the healthiest choice.

Does it sometimes seem that there just isn’t enough time in a day? When there’s too much to do and too little time to do it, you may find yourself doing everything in a rushed and hurried fashion. This can include eating meals in a hurry. Grabbing a quick lunch has almost become a way to life when you’re in a hurry to get back to work. Unfortunately, eating too fast isn’t a recipe for good health. That fast meal you throw down in ten minutes may come back to haunt you. Here are some of the health risks of eating too fast:

Overeating

This is one of the biggest dangers of eating a meal on the run. Although it might intuitively seem that you’d eat less when you’re pressured to eat quickly, the opposite may be true. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008 showed that women who ate a lunch of pasta, tomatoes, and cheese slowly consumed seventy fewer calories than those who ate rapidly. A calorie differential of seventy calories at each meal can add up to significant weight gain over time. Why does rapid eating promote a higher calorie intake? If food is eaten rapidly, there may not be enough time for the hormones responsible for signaling that the body is full to come into play. Thus, a sensation of fullness is delayed resulting in a greater calorie consumption. This is certainly “food for thought” for people watching their weight.

Increased risk of acid reflux and indigestion

Eating too fast can be a major cause of indigestion and, according to at least one study, may increase the risk of heartburn or gastric reflux. A study conducted and presented at Digestive Disease Week showed that healthy volunteers who ate their meals in five minutes experienced more heartburn and acid reflux than those who consumed their meal during a more leisurely thirty minute time interval. If you have a tendency to experience heartburn after a meal, try to schedule at least thirty minutes for a meal. You just may find it improves your symptoms.

A missed opportunity to relax and relieve stress

Americans tend to consume their meals in a much more hurried fashion than diners in many other countries. The French know the benefits of a long, relaxing lunch and will often take several hours to enjoy a midday meal. The benefit is as chance to relax, socialize, and share with friends. This provides a break from an otherwise busy day and provides a chance to recharge your energy level. The result? You approach tasks for the rest of the day in a more relaxed manner. Plus, by eating slowly and really tasting your food you’re forming good eating habits that will discourage overeating and weight gain in the future.

A meal should be an enjoyable stress relieving experience and shouldn’t lead to indigestion and weight gain. If you find yourself eating too fast, train yourself to put your fork down and look around at your surroundings. When you return to eating, make sure you’re really tasting the food. Keep practicing and you can develop healthier eating patterns over time that may save you from future health problems.

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