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Slow Chewing Can Prevent Weight Gain in Kids


Teaching children to chew slowly can prevent them from gaining excessive weight, according to a new study from the University of California, San Diego.

Waiting 30 seconds between bites of food enables kids to realize when they're full, the researchers found, and keeps them from overeating.

“To lose weight, you need to stop eating. But it’s not that simple for most people,” said study co-author Marcos Intaglietta. “So we decided to investigate how effective eating slowly would be.”

The approach may help parents simplify weight control in their children, as it's a habit kids can keep up in the long run, researchers said.

No diet, no deprivation

The study included 54 children between the ages of 6 and 17 who were monitored for a year. The subjects were divided into two groups: one that were instructed to eat slowly and another who were not. These two groups were compared with a group of control children.

Researchers called the results "striking": the slow eaters lost about 2 to 5.7 percent of their weight after six months and 3.4 to 4.8 percent after one year. The non-slow eaters increased their weight by 4.4 to 5.8 percent after six months and 8.3 to 12.6 percent after one year.

In addition to waiting 30 seconds between bites - which kids could monitor with an hourglass - the slow eaters were instructed to drink a glass of water between meals and avoid snacks.

“You can adopt this slow eating approach for yourself and keep it up for the rest of your life,” said study co-author Geert Schmid-Schonbein. “You can teach this approach to your children and they can teach it to their children in turn.”

Source: UC San Diego