Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Health | By Jay Jacobs

3 simple habits linked to weight loss

3 simple habits linked to weight loss

A previous study, by experts at North Carolina State University in the U.S., found "mindful eating" - savouring every mouthful, concentrating on flavour and "eating with purpose" - helped people lose six times as much weight as other slimmers.

Other habits the researchers looked at - including whether people ate or skipped breakfast, and how much sleep they got - did not appear to have a significant impact on weight.

A new study suggests that eating slowly can lower the risk of becoming obese, while keeping your Body Mass Index (BMI) in a healthy range.

Ian MacDonald, professor of metabolic physiology at the University of Nottingham, expressed doubt about the findings, pointing out that few people changed eating speed during the study, and that it was not clear that such changes were behind a change to BMI.

Compared with those who said they eat quickly, those who eat at a normal speed were 29 per cent less likely to meet the Japanese definition of obese. Around half of the total sample (just under 52 per cent) changed their eating speed over the course of the six years. Researchers found out that the people that ate at a normal speed were less likely to be obese compared to the fast eaters. Snacking after dinner and eating within two hours of going to sleep three or more times a week were also linked to changes in BMI.

In addition, getting a good night's sleep, eating dinner earlier and not skipping breakfast were all linked to a lower chance of obesity. "Interventions aimed at altering eating habits, such as education initiatives and programs to reduce eating speeds, may be useful in preventing obesity and reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases".

The researchers analyzed health insurance data from nearly 60,000 Japanese people diagnosed with Type II diabetes, a condition that affects the way the body processes glucose. While that's great news for people who spend ages eating their food, it's worrying for people who enjoy a bit of a midnight snack, at speed, while sitting in front of the TV of an evening. The results reveal that those who switched to eating more slowly between health checks, not snacking after dinner or eating dinner just before going to bed all showed signs of a reduction in their BMI.

However, they cautioned that people who took part in the study were "relatively health-conscious individuals" who voluntarily participated in health check-ups, so the findings may have "limited applicability to less health-conscious people". Eating quickly also causes bigger blood sugar fluctuations which can lead to insulin resistance.

They believe that fast eaters weigh in higher than their slow counterparts as it takes around 20 minutes for the brain to receive the message is the stomach is full. By contrast, around 30% of the people who ate at a normal speed and 45% of fast-eaters had the condition.

Katarina Kos-an obesity researcher-Exeter Medical School said that similar research needs to be conducted in non-diabetic people for learning the potential of the diabetes medication in weight loss or gain.

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