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Eating too fast messes up your insulin balance

Health & Nutrition

Eating too fast messes up your insulin balance

The faster you eat, the more difficult it is for the hormone insulin to do its work in your body. That means that fewer nutrients reach your muscles, and probably that more get deposited in your fat reserves. In the long term this leads to a much higher chance of developing diabetes type-2.

We’ve extracted these words of wisdom from a small epidemiological study published recently by endocrinologists at the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in Clinical Nutrition. The researchers collected data on 234 people who had recently been diagnosed as having diabetes type-2. They compared these data with data on 468 people who did not have diabetes.

One of the questions the researchers asked the participants was about the speed with which they generally ate their meals. If they compared themselves with other people at the same table, did they eat faster? Or at the same speed? Or more slowly?

The researchers discovered that the fast eaters were twice as likely to have diabetes type-2 than the slow eaters. The researchers corrected for factors such as genetic predisposition, BMI, waist measurement, education, smoking, the amount of triglycerides in the blood and physical exercise. Click on the table for a complete version.

Previous studies have already shown that fast eaters are more often overweight than slow eaters. [Prev Med. 1996 Sep-Oct; 25(5): 593-600.] [J Epidemiol. 2006 May; 16(3): 117-24.]

If you eat fast, you eat more; if you eat slowly, you eat less. [J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jul; 108(7): 1186-91.] That’s probably because the digestive system produces all sorts of appetite supressing hormones while we are eating. [J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Jan; 95(1): 333-7.] Production of these hormones is slower in fast eaters. Apparently these hormones also ensure that the insulin hormone can do its work.

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