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Does Nibbling Control Weight Gain on a Weight Loss Diet?

Speed of eating is not the factor

If you're on a weight loss diet, you've read it over and over in every weight loss diet book: Put the fork down between bites and chew, don't gobble your food like a starved refuge and don't drink all that liquid or you'll stretch your stomach! All this advise is supposedly based upon "facts" that separate good eating habits from bad when it comes to maintinaing a healthy weight. But are they really valid when examined scientifically?

The rate of which you exercise your jaw during a meal may have little to do with reducing the total calories consumed, according to Barbara Rolls, professor of nutrition at Penn State.

In a 2000 study published in Neurosciences Biobehavioral Reviews which focused on obese vs lean subjects, they examined their rate of eating, size of bites and oh yes..they even counted the number of chews. Surprisingly, they found that shrinking the bite size and gobble rate affected how many calories you could shove down at a given meal, but had no effect on total daily intake in either lean or obese people.

So what is really important in lowering your total calorie intake?

  • Focus on food selection. That's more important than either bite size or pace of eating. Obese women are less hungry but are MORE affected by food preferences than lean women when they sit down to eat. Men don't get off too easy either. Given free reign at a buffet, obese men carry back plates of dessert earlier in the meal and eat more sugary, high fat dessert and other high-calorie foods than do lean, trim men.
  • Forget about being "ladylike" and putting that fork down between every bite. It isn't a rise in blood glucose that starts to tell you that you are full, but rather several signals that start as soon as you begin eating. Just preparing food begins the release of sympathetic nerve signals that start the "satiety" hormones flowing, which helps to control calorie consumption and improve gastric emptying. Using our senses, such as smell and our eyes, can trigger these hormones to begin their action long before the food hits your stomach and begins its path to being used as energy or stored as fat.
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