Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk

Availability of cheap foods, larger portions changes dining behavior, Japanese study says
People who eat quickly and until they're full are three times more likely to be overweight than others, a Japanese study says.

For the research, 1,122 men and 2,165 women, ages 30 to 69, filled out a diet history questionnaire about their eating habits, which revealed that 50.9 percent of men and 58.4 percent of women said they ate until they were full, while 45.6 percent of men and 36 percent of women said they ate quickly.

Those who said they ate quickly and until they were full had a higher body mass index (BMI) and total energy intake, and were three times more likely to be overweight than those who didn't eat until they were full and didn't eat quickly.

The study, published online Oct. 22 in the British Medical Journal, shows that eating quickly and until full has "a supra-additive effect on overweight," concluded Professor Hiroyasu Iso, of Osaka University, and colleagues.

Until recently, most adults didn't have the opportunity to consume enough energy to enable the body to store fat, according to background information in the study. But eating behaviors have changed due to increased availability of inexpensive food in larger portions, fast food, fewer families eating together, and eating while distracted (such as watching TV).

The study findings illustrate how current eating patterns in many nations may play a role in the epidemic of obesity, Elizabeth Denney-Wilson, of the University of New South Wales, and Karen Campbell, of Deakin University, both in Australia, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

They said doctors need to work with parents to encourage healthy eating habits in children, such as eating slowly, serving appropriate portion sizes, and eating as a family in a non-distracting environment.

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