Scoffing food not only means your meal is over quickly but could push up the risk of piling on weight, researchers warn.
A study of 60,000 people found those who ate slowly were 42 % less likely to be overweight than fast eaters.
Experts believe chewing slowly and savouring every mouthful could be a successful way to lose weight.
This is because it takes roughly 20 minutes for the brain to realise the stomach is full, so fast eaters keep on going well after they have had enough food.
The researchers at Kyushu University in Japan also found that eating evening meals at least two hours before going to bed cuts the risk of being overweight by 10 %. The body’s metabolism slows towards the end of the day so eating late means calories are not burned off, said a report in the journal BMJ Open.
The academics tracked participants for six years and found that fast eaters had waist sizes a quarter of an inch (0.62cm) larger than slow eaters. In the study, 22,070 people routinely wolfed down their food, 33,455 ate normally and 4,192 classed themselves as slow eaters.
Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum, said eating too quickly was ‘undeniably a contributor to obesity’.