Eating fast/slow. Which one is better?

I have this little pet peeve of mine. Thing is, I eat Wayyyyyy too slowly (at least according to one of my friends who wolfs down his food in milliseconds).

The jury’s still out on this one, but his arguments are as follows:

[li]Eating faster is more time-saving and you don’t have to sit around and wait to eat, hence more efficient digestion[/li][li]Eating faster enables you to eat successively more than if you were to eat slower (not sure about this one)[/li][li]Eating faster enables you to digest foods more quickly and therefore results in decreased stomach gas-volume (apparently this is why I belch so quickly after a little meal)[/li][li]Eating faster means that you are hungrier more frequently, b/c by the time you have finished your meal you are more likely to feel hungry again after some time has elapsed[/li][/ul]

Everyone I ever consulted has told me that eating more slowly and chewing your food was by far the most important factor (i.e. the better alternative). I’m not really so sure.

So what are the pro’s and cons of eating slower or faster and which one is healthier?

Does eating more slowly result in decreased appetite during a meal (i.e. you can only eat less if you eat slowly?)

Your friend seems to be a bit off here, and FTR I eat slow myself too.

Those points, most of which I don’t agree with, would show that the only advantage to eating fast is that you could eat more on average… and the last thing people in this country need to worry about is how to cram even more food down their necks.

Maybe if you were a starving street kid in Peru you’d want to be able to scarf down as much as possible before the police caught you feeding from the dumpster, but here what is the point?

I don’t see how dropping 2lbs of food as opposed to 1lb into the stomac over 5 minutes would make digestion any more efficient… it’s not like it gets processed any quicker. And the 5 minutes you’d save in eating time you’d do what with - get up and go run around (which would draw blood out to the muscles resulting in less efficient digestion as well as an extra energy drain overall from being more active)?

Eating faster lets you eat more than going slow… do we not stop eating when we’re full, regardless of whether that takes 2 minutes or 15?

You digest faster if you eat fast… huh? It still takes 12-24 or more hours for food to run it’s full course through you… how will saving 5 minutes on the front end help you?

You’re hungrier faster… I don’t know but when I occasionally wolf down a whole pizza in 6 minutes flat I’m so stuffed that I need to sit or lay down for an hour or so, and frequently fall asleep for even longer. When I nibble away at raisins or nuts all day there is none of this wild cycling of starving-stuffed and wasted time feeling both bloated and famished, and I can keep going along normally without the down-time of “power feasting”.

I don’t beleive there is any significant advantage to eating fast vs slow, and about the only measurable difference would be in digestive efficiency which drops as you start swallowing big chunks of food sans chewing much. Although actual speed of eating isn’t mentioned, don’t pro athletes tend to eat several smaller meals throughout the day rather than scarfing down a whole bunch 2 or 3 times/day?

Eating faster (esp. if you don’t chew enough) will make you more likely to have indigestion, especially if your prone to it.
As far as I’ve noticed, you can eat more if you eat faster. There seems to be a delay in your body before it tells you that you’re full. Have your friend wait until he’s hungry and then wolf down as much food as he can. Then on another day, wait until he is equally hungry, and have him try to eat the same amount of food, over a longer period of time, say 20 mins instead of 5. See what happens. This is one of the reasons, that people on diets, are supposed to chew their food better, it forces them to eat more slowly, therefore filling up faster, and eating less food. Of course I could be totally off here, but that’s always been my understanding.

Isn’t food supposed to be chewed thoroughly for efficient digestion? I’d say eating slow would be the logical choice… chewing food more leads to smaller chunks swallowed…leading to less of a chance of choking to death :b

Besides, why eat a meal if you’re not going to enjoy the flavor? :slight_smile: I like to eat slowly so I can actually enjoy the flavors of the meal. Seems like a waste of yummy food if you’re just gonna inhale it in 5 seconds :slight_smile:

I recall reading somewhere that the portion of our nervous system that deals with determining if we are “full” or not, is really underdeveloped, and so you often dont realize you are full for about 10 or so minutes.

Whatever I read cited eating fast as a cuase of obesety because people are eating for 10 minutes after they are full. Eating slower should then help in all diet situations.

You may have a bit of a delay in feeling full if you wolf down food and end up getting a bit more in… but exactly how is this an advantage??
a) as I mentioned in my first post, unless you are a starving street person on the run there is no need to eat more food than you feel like having at the moment, and doing so tends to give you a build like Santa Claus which you must eventually spend years working off on a treadmill after you’ve had your first heart attack; either that or you spend more money on the extra food you gulp down before you realize you’re full.
b) when you do eat more than you actually felt like, you end up wobbling around feeling like a bloated whale and getting very little done, and there goes your supposed increased time efficiency.

Personal anectdote: I have always eaten things like fries and potato chips one at a time, unless there’s just crumbs left. Lots of people grab half a dozen and jam them into their mouths and finish a lot sooner (doing this with things like Pringles is just plain wrong)… I have never understood this behavior - you don’t get any extra taste, and it’s “over” that much quicker. Sorta defeats the pupose of eating yummy things IMHO. If I just want to fill up I’ll scarf down a bowl of plain rice or something else dirt cheap… same effect at 1/10 the price :D!!

Eating slower/chewing food thoroughly is the optimal way to eat.Saliva starts breaking down food before it gets to the stomach where acid and enzymes complete the job.

And as others have noted your brain’s mechanism for perceiving a full stomach takes as long as 20 cycle.

Eating faster almost assures you of eating more at one sitting-also lends itself to bloat/stomach distension from a food overload and possible indigestion problems.

All this is basic practices most people,I thought, learned in grammar school.Consult an elemantary health/hygiene/science teacher.

If you’re eating slowly you’re doing yourself a favor.

Thanks for all the replies guys… esp. mmmiiikkkeee. Okay;

How many of you find this to be true? B/C I find that if I eat slower I can digest food better and eat more during the day. Then again, I’ve never been much of a fast eater (unless of course, I’m really hungry).

So this means that you can eat more during the day? I understand mmmiiikkkeee 's point that eating too much is bad for your health but I’m trying to gain weight and was wondering if eating more slowly inhibits your appetite any more than eating fast, and whether it is better to eat slowly b/c you absorb nutrients better whilst eating slowly.

Not quite. While some breakdown of solids is accomplished in the stomach, almost everything we associate with digestion takes place in the intestines.

And that’s another reason why eating slowly has physiological advantages over eating quickly.

Think of the intestines as an assembly line. There are workers (enzymes) at each point on the line that serve to digest (break down) the food. If huge blocks of food overwhelm the workers then they can’t do as efficient a job. Spacing a meal out more slowly so that smaller portions flow past an enzyme point at any one time allows for more efficient digestion, which promotes fuller absorbtion of nutrients in the food and precludes undigested pieces from reaching the colon.

Here’s one real-world example. Many people with lactose intolerance still maintain some lactase activity in their small intestine. If they eat a meal slowly, or space out the lactose-containing foods, then the reamining lactase can fully work and all the lactose is digested. But if they have too much lactose at one time, it can’t all be digested. And undigested lactose in the intestines drawns in water from the surrounding tissue and can be fermented by bacteria in the colon, thereby creating the classic diarrhea, gas, flatulence and bloating of LI.

I can’t think of any physiological reason why bolting food would be better for you than eating smaller portions slowly, except in extraordinary conditions.