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Quick Dose: Is Eating Too Fast Unhealthy?

Leisurely eating is better for your health, especially when it comes to digestion, weight and nutrition.

When you eat too fast, you swallow more air, which can cause bloating and gas. Slowing down to properly chew your food helps to break down larger particles of food into smaller ones, aiding digestion.

And while there’s no magic number to how many times you should chew your food before swallowing, properly chewing can help you avoid overeating. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal to your brain that it’s full. Eating too quickly makes it difficult to catch these signals.

Studies show that eating slower helps you to make healthier choices. Slowing down to prepare your meal, instead of grabbing something on the run can help you consume fewer choices – enough to lose a significant amount of weight each year.

Put this into practice by being mindful about your mealtime. Avoid talking on the phone, turn off the television, and discourage laptops and other devices during meals. Being aware of your surroundings can improve the pleasure of eating in smaller portions and can reduce symptoms such as reflux or uncomfortable fullness that can result from eating too fast.

– Bethany Doerfler, MS, RDN, clinical research dietitian, Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center