Obesity Eating
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November 13, 2017

Fast eater? It could harm your heart and waistline

People who eat quickly are more likely to become obese or develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of heart disease, diabetes and stroke risk factors, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2017.

Metabolic syndrome occurs with any of three risk factors that include abdominal obesity, high fasting blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and/or low HDL cholesterol, said Japanese researchers.

The study looked at 642 men and 441 women, with an average age of 51.2 years, who did not have metabolic syndrome in 2008. They divided the participants into three groups depending on how they described their usual eating speed: slow, normal or fast.

After five years, the researchers found:

• Fast eaters were more likely (11.6 percent) to have developed metabolic syndrome than normal eaters (6.5 percent) or slow eaters (2.3 percent);

• Faster eating speed was associated with more weight gain, higher blood glucose and larger waistline.

"Eating more slowly may be a crucial lifestyle change to help prevent metabolic syndrome," said Takayuki Yamaji, M.D., study author and cardiologist at Hiroshima University in Japan, in a news release. "When people eat fast they tend not to feel full and are more likely to overeat. Eating fast causes bigger glucose fluctuation, which can lead to insulin resistance. We also believe our research would apply to a U.S. population."

Scientific Sessions 2017 is a premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.