Eating slowly, avoiding after-dinner snacks, and not eating within two hours of going to sleep, could help people lose weight, suggests a new study. Changes in these eating habits were strongly associated with lower obesity and weight BMI, and smaller waist circumference, the researchers found.
Researchers examined health insurance data from 2008 to 2013 for nearly 60,000 people in Japan, who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during the study period.
They found that compared with those who tended to eat their food quickly, those who ate at a normal speed were 29 per cent less likely to be obese, rising to 42 per cent for those who ate slowly. When compared with fast eaters, normal-speed eaters and slow eaters had reductions in waist circumference of 0.21cm and 0.41cm, respectively.
The results also indicated that frequently eating dinner within two hours before sleeping, snacking after dinner and skipping breakfast contribute to the development of obesity.
Writing in the BMJ Open, the authors said interventions aimed at altering eating habits, such as education initiatives and programmes to reduce eating speed, may be useful in preventing obesity and reducing the risk of non-communicable diseases.