Healthy Eating, Physiology, Science

Eat slow and Focus on Food

“Keep the Phone away while eating!”, “Shut the TV while you eat”, “Avoid talking while you Eat!”, “Sit Down Quietly and Eat peacefully ”

How many times have we been given these Instructions by our Moms and Dadis! We seem to be turning a deaf ear to these Instructions but we do realize they are Right. Well, What do you think Happens if we Watch TV while we Eat? Also when we are Running late What is Wrong with Eating Fast or Hurriedly?

What happens is that while we watch TV or Phone, we Do not pay Attention to Food while Eating. This has a lot of Effects on How Much we eat and How Happy and Satisfied we are after eating.

How Much We Eat:

Hunger is not the only thing that controls how much we eat! Attention and Satisfaction also play a big role in preventing Over eating.

Our Body’s Fat Cells and Small Intestine produce a hormone called Leptin (Satiety Hormone) that signals the Brain ( Hypothalamus) when you need to stop eating. It tells brain when Enough fat has been stored, and now you don’t need to Eat and Can burn calories at a normal rate. Hypothalamus controls when and how much we eat.

Humans have evolved to have a hormone such as Leptin which Prevents Overeating. Which means Human Beings are actually Incapable of Overeating. ( But when we are Hungry, do we even behave like Humans?πŸ˜‚)

Ok, jokes apart; ever heard of Babies Overeating? If you feed them even 1 spoon more, they will throw it out. We all knew, as babies, how much exactly we want to eat. We are born with this power but now we have stopped paying attention to our bodies in order to listen to them and hence we often overeat.

Studies say it takes atleast 20 minutes for our bodies to receive and process the satiety signals. Therefore if we Eat Slow our Brains get enough time to tell us that we are full.

Many researches have been conducted that say that People who eat Slowly, end up eating Significantly Less amount of food and even feel More Satisfied. And those who eat Fast, usually tend to overeat and aren’t much satisfied and later Indulge into Post-meal Snacking.

What we eat:

If we pay Attention to Food while eating, we Know what we eat. We tend to make Healthy Food Choices if we are Conscious of what we are eating.

The list of things people eat while watching a Movie or a Football match on TV includes mostly Junk Foods such as Chips and Popcorn! (Because here the Focus is not on what they eat.)

We need to Realize how Mindful eating can prevent us from Unhealthy eating habits and ultimately from many Lifestyle Disorders.

How we eat:

We know chewing is important because digestion of Food begins in the mouth. But do we really Chew enough? The food should turn Liquidy inside the mouth. Mostly everything you eat starts tasting sweeter at the end of lot of chewing.

(Because polysaccharides are tasteless and Disaccharides and Monosacchides are sweet. Thus food turning sweet means breakdown of food from Polysaccharides to Monosaccharides has begun.)

It is popular that we should chew our food atlest 32 or 40 times. Although,that number depends on you but counting helps us pay Attention on eating.

Japanese and French Eating Habits:

Let’s talk about two of the Cultures that are known to have quiet high Longevity, Healthy people and Healthy Eating Habits.

Among the many reasons why Japanese live long, one is that Japanese people Eat Slowly. Traditionally, they eat with Chopsticks. This doesn’t allow them to eat Fast! This is why most Japanese Companies allow atleast an Hour-long Lunch break to their employees.

When you see an Elegant French lady Enjoying her Luncheon, you will notice that she likes to eat at peace. And between bites she would Put her Fork Down and take the time to Chew her Food enough and devour it completely. French people focus more on Quality of Food than on its Quantity.

I hope if you don’t listen to you Dadima or Mother, these facts about Foreign cultures will inspire you to eat slow!

Mental Health Benefits

  • Enjoying your Food makes you feel Happy
  • You live more in the Present Moment
  • Makes you feel calmer
  • Relieves Stress
  • Makes you Feel More in Control of Yourself

(Aren’t these Mental Benefits Amazing?!)

Other Benefits

More chewing leads to Improved digestion as it increases surface area for Digestive enzymes to work. It also improves health of teeth and is a workout for Muscles of Mastication!

How to Eat Slow

For people like me who are new to Mindful eating, there are some tips:

  • Take small bites and chew them well
  • Set a time limit (say 20 minutes) before which you must not finish eating
  • Think about where and how the Food was grown and processed and cooked. This way you may Not even Waste Food, and value it.
  • If you use a fork or spoon, put it down often between bites.
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Eat foods that need more chewing
  • Start with one Meal of slow eating daily.
  • Be patient. New habits take time. But try persistently.

So, unless you are eating a soft icecream and do not want it to turn into a milkshake before you finish it, Eat Slowly.

Definitely Mindful Living has a lot of benefits but the least we can do is Mindful Eating.

You are stronger than your distractions.

Honestly till now I have been quiet a fast eater! And I even used to take certain pride in that.. But when I first realized the importance of Eating Slowly, I wanted to know more about it and implement the learnings. Hence I read many articles about Slow and Mindful eating and this blog is what I learned from reading them. I hope you found it useful. If yes, please share it with the people you care about. Thank you for reading!


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