EATING slowly can cut your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, research suggests.
Those who eat very quickly do not give their bodies time to realise it is full meaning they tend to eat more.
But savouring every mouthful and taking time over a meal is better for overall health.
A study of more than 1,000 middle-aged volunteers found those who ate quickly were five-and-a-half times more likely than slow eaters to go on to develop metabolic syndrome a cluster of conditions including obesity and high blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.
Dr Takayuki Yamaji, a cardiologist at Hiroshima University in Japan, said: Eating more slowly may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome.'
Over the five-year study period his researchers found 11.6 per cent of the quick eaters developed the syndrome. This compared to 6.5 per cent of those who ate at a normal speed and a mere 2.3 per cent of those who ate slowly.
Faster eating speed was linked to more weight gain, higher blood glucose and an expanding waistline. Dr Yamaji told a meeting of the American Heart Association in California fast eating could fuel over-eating.
Metabolic syndrome occurs when someone has any of three risk factors linked to diabetes and heart disease. These include abdominal obesity, high fasting blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and low good' HDL cholesterol.
Yamaji and colleagues evaluated 642 men and 441 women whose average age was 51 at the start of the study in 2008.
The participants, who were all healthy at that point, were asked to describe their usual eating speed as slow, normal or fast and divided into these three groups. They were re-examined in 2013.
Yamaji said: When people eat fast they tend not to feel full and are more likely to overeat.'
Several studies have linked eating speed to weight gain. Earlier this year researchers at North Carolina State University found mindful eating' concentrating on flavour and eating with purpose' helped people lose six times as much weight as other slimmers.
© Daily Mail