Health & Wellness

Are you an (unofficial) speed eating champion? Slow down with these 4 tips

Remember when your mother told you to slow down and not eat so fast? Mom knew what she was talking about.

Eating too fast may spell trouble in the form of indigestion, acid reflux, and more serious health issues like insulin resistance and diabetes, according to one recent study.

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Businesswoman eating a sandwich at her desk in her office.

Speed eating also leads to weight gain, experts say. When we eat meals quickly, we miss out on the feeling of satiety, so we continue eating long before our stomachs realize they're full.

Ideally, we’d all have the time and resources to prepare our dining area with candlelight and soft music so all our meals were tranquil affairs. But even in the real world, when we’re grabbing lunch at the office or picking up takeout on the way home, we can still slow down our eating with these four simple strategies:

1. Don’t multitask.

Put down the phone, close the computer, turn off the TV and focus on your food. Pay attention to the taste, temperature, and texture of it. Synching up your mind and your mouth will help you get more pleasure from the food you’re eating, giving you the chance to notice the unique flavor bursting from every bite.

2. Set the table.

Don’t eat while standing at the counter or while looking through the fridge. Set a place for yourself at the table. You deserve to feel special. If you make a big deal about the plate you choose — even if it’s a paper plate! — and you take the time to sit down and eat your meal, you’ll be more likely to slow down and enjoy it.

3. Eat with chopsticks.

Forks and spoons can be like little shovels when you eat too fast, and that allows you to take too much per bite – way too speedily! Using chopsticks, no matter what cuisine you’re eating, can help you learn to put smaller amounts in your mouth, one mouthful at a time.

4. Chew wisely.

Count your bites as you chew. Try and take at least 20 seconds to process each mouthful. Food that is well masticated will be digested more readily and lead to fewer gastrointestinal issues.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D. is a contributor for TODAY.com. Follow Bonnie at BetterThanDieting.com and on Twitter @eatsmartbd.

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