Eating too fast is an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes

Fast Eaters Have Greater Risk of Diabetes Than Slow Eaters

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you read the blog here.


If you are among the fast eaters at the table you are at risk of becoming overweight. Part of the problem is you are first in line for seconds while everyone else is still nibbling on their first portion. Another is you miss the signal that tells you when you’ve had enough because your plate is empty before the food reaches your stomach and has a chance to send it to your brain.

Now research indicates fast eaters have 2.5-times higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to slow eaters.

Eating Too Fast is an Independent Risk Factor

We already know being overweight or obese increases your odds of developing diabetes, but this study found eating too fast was an independent indicator of who might get diabetes.

The findings were presented at the joint International Congress of Endocrinology and European Congress of Endocrinology in Florence, Italy earlier this month. The researchers collected information about possible diabetes risk factors from 234 people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and 468 people who did not have the disease. After adjusting the data for known risk factors, such as family history, body mass index, and waist circumference, the researchers found a more than two-fold increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes associated with those who reported faster eating habits.

The scientists could not explain why wolfing down your food was linked to type 2 diabetes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take action while waiting for one. The importance of this study is that it identifies a risk factor that people can modify, while genetic predisposition to diabetes and some environmental factors that contribute to it are beyond our control.

Ways to Slow Down How Fast Your Eat

  • Eat with chop sticks (if not your usual utensil)
  • Use your non-dominant hand
  • Use a cocktail fork or other small cutlery
  • Wear a dental appliance (like a retainer)
  • Pace yourself with a slow eater
  • Put your fork or hand-held food down between bites
  • Count how long you chew each mouthful (shoot for at least 20 chews)
  • Swallow everything in your mouth before taking another bite
  • Don’t take seconds until everyone at the table has finished eating, or wait at least 10 minutes
  • Take a sip of water between each bite of food
  • Cut your food into very small pieces
  • Play background music with a slow tempo
  • Turn off any other distractions, like TV, so you can pay attention to your food

Engage in conversation, but never with food in your mouth

Posted in Chronic Diseases, Diet and Disease, Eating Right, HEALTH GOES STRONG, Moderation, Obesity, Therapeutic Diets and tagged , , , .

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