When I was a kid, my babysitter, Edie, used to tell me to chew at least fifty times before swallowing. I always assumed that she did this because she was afraid that I would choke on some stray spices or food chunks. In retrospect, however, I'm beginning to wonder if Edie was just plain cheap.
In a recent study at the University of Rhode Island, researchers asked two groups of female students to eat the same meal, stopping when they were full. The first group was instructed to eat as quickly as possible, while the second group was asked to chew slowly, putting their forks down between each bite. While group one finished eating in approximately nine minutes, group two took about a half hour. Many members of group two left food on their plates.
After the data were tallied, the results were pretty amazing: the speed-eating group consumed an average of 646 calories, while the slower-paced group consumed 579 calories. Although 70 calories may not seem like a great deal, over the course of three meals, it adds up to over 200 calories a day.
The results are clear: if you're looking to lose weight and cut down on your food bill, you might start by taking your time with your food. Put down the fork, chew slowly, and save your leftovers. If you're eating with someone else, try having a conversation; if not, try reading a book. Your wallet, and your waistline, will thank you!
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. After years of gobbling his food, he has to remind himself that he doesn't have to eat like every meal is his last!
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