Posted : 2013-08-14 18:57
Updated : 2013-08-14 18:57

Eat for over 20 minutes

By Lee Yong-joo

Hyperlipidemia, dyslipidemia, stroke, atherosclerosis, obesity, acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux, gastritis, cancer. Do you know what the common cause of these diseases is?

How long does it take you to eat a meal? Professor Kim Do-hun of Korea University Ansan hospital conducted research about eating habits among 8,771 people from 2007 to 2009.

According to the study, 8 percent of the people who replied said that it took less than five minutes to finish a meal, 36.2 percent answered five to 10 minutes, and 44.4 percent answered 10 to 15 minutes.

Conclusively, nine out of 10 people finish their meals in less than 15 minutes.

I am a sufferer of gastritis, and have been interested in eating habits and digestion. I have personally experienced the effects of eating quickly, and have put special attention on this subject.

It is widely believed that eating quickly is not good for our health. Then what are the specific disadvantages of eating quickly?

To begin with, it can lead to obesity. According to research conducted by Korea University, people who eat a meal in less than five minutes weigh an average of four kilograms more than those who ate a meal in 15 minutes or longer.

Moreover, those who at in less than five minutes have an average BMI (body mass index) of 25.1 while those who ate in 15 or more minutes recorded 23.6. And men who ate in less than five minutes took in an average of 110 calories more than those who ate for more than 15 minutes. The additional calories are equivalent to one third of a bowl of rice.

Osaka University came up with similar results. They monitored the eating habits of 3,000 people and discovered that fast-eating men were 84 percent more likely to be overweight and women were over twice as likely to be.

Then what is the scientific explanation for such results? Simply put, it is because it takes about 20 minutes for the appetite center to order the body to stop eating. In other words, it takes 20 minutes to feel full and satisfied.

Second, eating quickly can cause people to feel depressed and annoyed; it is bad for emotional and mental health. According to, when we begin to eat, the first thing our body does is secrete hormones that heighten the level of blood glucose.

Later, it secretes hormones that lower the level of blood glucose. However, when one eats quickly, the level of blood glucose changes rapidly and this causes negative effects on the brain, disturbing our mental health.

Third, it has a negative effect on our brain, and many other digestive organs such as the liver and stomach. When we eat quickly, the food is unable to dissipate well in our stomach and this accumulates as toxin and causes chemical reaction on the outer wall of our stomach. This causes people to feel drowsy, and claim indigestion.

There are other disadvantages of eating quickly such as the occurrence of gastritis, when left can develop into stomach cancer according to Naver Health. Now that the problems of eating quickly are prominent, what are the possible solutions?

As a solution, I advise readers to eat at a slower pace. It takes at least 20 minutes for the brain to order our body to stop eating.

First, chew your food for 20 to 30 times before you swallow. Second, put down your chopsticks after having a mouthful and then pick them up again for another. Third, talk and socialize with your friends and family while you eat.

All these notions will help you eat slowly as well as establish a healthy eating habit. If you abide by this simple rule, you will be able to experience the benefits of eating slowly.

To begin with, you will be able to lose weight or at least maintain your current state.

Take your time to eat for at least 20 minutes for your health and your future happiness. Napoleon Bonaparte once said that: "An army marches on its stomach."

Lee Yong-joo studies Applied Life Chemistry at Seoul National University.

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