Fast food, as we all know, tends to make you fat. But even slow food cooked lovingly at home and eaten at the table could do the same if you ate it too fast.

Researchers in Greece have found that bolting your food upsets metabolism and leaves you feeling less satisfied than if you ate more slowly.

In this study, people consumed the same test meal, 300ml of ice-cream, at different rates. Blood samples were taken to measure glucose, insulin, plasma lipids and gut hormones before the meal and at 30 minute intervals after the beginning of eating, until the end of the session, 210 minutes later. Those who took the full 30 minutes to finish their ice cream had higher concentrations of gut hormones PYY and GLP-1, and also tended to have a higher fullness rating.

“Our findings give some insight into an aspect of modern-day food overconsumption, namely the fact that many people, pressed by demanding working and living conditions, eat faster and in greater amounts than in the past,” said Dr Alexander Kokkinos. “The warning we were given as children that ‘wolfing down your food will make you fat,’ may in fact have a physiological explanation.”

It seems likely that fast food, fast eating and over-eating go naturally together — a product of the “I want it now” mentality that family dining counteracts by specifying a time for the meal and slowing things down with conversation. Another argument for family meals.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet