Slower-Paced Meal Reduces Hunger but Affects Calorie Consumption Differently in Normal-Weight and Overweight or Obese Individuals

According to New Study Published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Philadelphia, PA, December 30, 2013

Obesity rates in the United States increased from 14.5% of the population in 1971-1974 to 35.9% of the population in 2009-2010. It's believed that one contributing factor to expanding waistlines is the reported increase in energy intake. Research suggests that the ability to control energy intake may be affected by the speed at which we eat, and a high eating rate may impair the relationship between the sensory signals and processes that regulate how much we eat.

In order to learn more about the relationship between eating speed and energy intake, a team of researchers in the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University took a look at how eating speed affects calories consumed during a meal in both normal weight subjects as well as overweight or obese subjects. The investigators also collected data on feelings of hunger and fullness before and after the fast-paced and slow-paced meals and water consumption during the meals. Their results are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

While previous studies have reviewed the relationship between eating speed and body weight, most of those studies were conducted with normal-weight individuals. In this new study, investigators asked a group of normal-weight subjects and a group of overweight or obese subjects to consume two meals in a controlled environment. All subjects ate one meal at a slow speed, for which they were instructed to imagine that they had no time constraints, take small bites, chew thoroughly, and pause and put the spoon down between bites, and a second meal at a fast speed, for which they were instructed to imagine that they had a time constraint, take large bites, chew quickly, and not pause and put the spoon down.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that only normal-weight subjects had a statistically significant reduction in caloric consumption during the slow compared to the fast meal: 88 kcal less for the normal weight group, versus only 58 kcal less for the overweight or obese group.

“Slowing the speed of eating led to a significant reduction in energy intake in the normal-weight group, but not in the overweight or obese group. A lack of statistical significance in the overweight and obese group may be partly due to the fact that they consumed less food during both eating conditions compared to the normal-weight subjects,” explained lead author Meena Shah, PhD, professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University. “It is possible that the overweight and obese subjects felt more self-conscious, and thus ate less during the study.”

Despite the differences in caloric consumption between the normal-weight and overweight and obese subjects, the study found some similarities. Both groups felt less hungry later on after the slow meal than after the fast meal. “In both groups, ratings of hunger were significantly lower at 60 minutes from when the meal began during the slow compared to the fast eating condition,” added Dr. Shah. “These results indicate that greater hunger suppression among both groups could be expected from a meal that is consumed more slowly.”

Also, both the normal weight and overweight or obese groups consumed more water during the slow meal. During the fast condition, participants across the study only consumed 9 ounces of water, but during the slow condition, that amount rose to 12 ounces. “Water consumption was higher during the slow compared to the fast eating condition by 27% in the normal weight and 33% in the overweight or obese group. The higher water intake during the slow eating condition probably caused stomach distention and may have affected food consumption,” said Dr. Shah.

With obesity rates continuing to rise among the adult population in the United States, information about how different weight groups approach and consume food will be helpful in crafting strategies to lower energy intake, but for now, Dr. Shah suggested, “Slowing the speed of eating may help to lower energy intake and suppress hunger levels and may even enhance the enjoyment of a meal.”

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Notes for editors
Slower Eating Speed Lowers Energy Intake in Normal-Weight but Not Overweight/Obese Subjects,” by Meena Shah, PhD; Jennifer Copeland, MS; Lyn Dart, PhD, RD, LD; Beverley Adams Huet, MS; Ashlei James, MS; Debbie Rhea, EdD, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.11.002, published by Elsevier.

Full text of this article is available to credentialed journalists upon request. Contact Eileen Leahy at +1 732 238 3628 or andjrnlmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. Journalists wishing to set up interviews with Dr. Shah should contact Megan Murphey at +1 817 257 5433 or m.r.murphey@tcu.edu or Meena Shah at m.shah@tcu.edu.

An audio podcast featuring Dr. Meena Shah and information specifically for journalists are located at www.andjrnl.org/content/podcast. Excerpts from the audio may be reproduced by the media; contact Eileen Leahy to obtain permission.

About the authors
Meena Shah, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University.

Jennifer Copeland, MS, was a graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University.

Lyn Dart, PhD, RD, LD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Christian University.

Beverly Adams-Huet, MS, is a biostatistician and Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Ashlei James, MS, was a graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University.

Debbi Rhea, EdD, is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Texas Christian University.

About The Journal of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The official journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatright.org), the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.andjrnl.org) is the premier source for the practice and science of food, nutrition and dietetics. The monthly, peer-reviewed journal presents original articles prepared by scholars and practitioners and is the most widely read professional publication in the field. The Journal focuses on advancing professional knowledge across the range of research and practice issues such as: nutritional science, medical nutrition therapy, public health nutrition, food science and biotechnology, food service systems, leadership and management and dietetics education.

The Journal has a current Impact Factor of 3.797 in the Nutrition and Dietetics category of the 2012 Journal Citation Reports®, published by Thomson Reuters. It was previously published as the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

About The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatright.org), formerly the American Dietetic Association, is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence, and ClinicalKey — and publishes nearly 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

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Media contact
Eileen Leahy
Elsevier
+1 732 238 3628
andjrnlmedia@elsevier.com


Ryan O’Malley
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
+1 800 877 1600 ext. 4769
media@eatright.org