When Italians gather around the dining table, they’re in no hurry to get up. Meals aren’t just an opportunity to eat food, they’re a reason to relax and connect with friends and family.
Why it’s healthy: “When you slow down your meal, you’re taking the time to enjoy interacting with company,” says Kris-Etherton. “The social aspect becomes more of a priority rather than just eating all that you possibly can as fast as you can.”
Research has also shown that it can take about 20 minutes for the release of satiety hormones that signal to your brain that you’re full. “If you eat too fast, that mechanism hasn’t kicked in yet,” says Kris-Etherton. “So you override your natural satiety triggers and overeat.”
A 2019 study in the journal Nutrients tested this by having participants eat a 600-calorie meal in either 6 minutes or 24 minutes. Two hours after the meal, those in the slower group reported more fullness and had greater suppression of ghrelin (the hormone that triggers hunger). At 3 hours post-meal, the slower-eating group had consumed 25 percent fewer snack calories than those who ate quickly.