Slow Down, You Move Too Fast – and Other News

by DavalosMcCormack on November 5, 2009

The title to this piece is the opening line to a song by Simon and Garfunkel. Strangely the song is called the 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) – and that alone dates it – even though there is no obvious reference to either 59th Street or a bridge.  The line sprang to mind when I read a new study that pointed out the faster you eat the more likely you are to overeat.

The study is in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, and it says that eating a meal quickly, as opposed to slowly,  limits the release of hormones in the stomach that signal the brain you are full. Because your brain isn’t getting the message that the stomach has had enough it just allows you to carry on eating longer, consuming more food than you need.

Here’s the fun part – how they did it! The researchers gave the study participants bowls of ice cream (300ml to be precise) and got them to eat them at different rates on different days. One day they’d scarf them down. The next they’d take their time and savor each mouthful of delicious, full-fat ice cream.

Before and after each bowl the researchers took blood samples from the participants and measured them for glucose, insulin, plasma lipids and gut hormones. They found that those who took 30 minutes to eat the ice cream had higher concentrations of the hormones that signal the brain “I’m done, stop eating now”, compared to people who wolfed the stuff down in half the time.

The researchers say this could help explain why many people are overweight. They are so busy and eat in such a hurry that they are not paying attention to what they eat or how they eat it. That means they’re more likely to eat crappy food, and more likely to wolf it down fast because they are in a hurry and therefore more likely to eat more of it than they need.

It’s a triple whammy.

So next time you are sitting down to eat, spend a few minutes ahead of time thinking about what you are going to eat, and try to spend a little time during the meal focusing on how fast you are eating it. Savor the taste and smell. Don’t just shovel it in. You might find that not only do you eat less, you also enjoy it more.

To paraphrase Simon and Garfunkel; slow down, you masticate too fast, you’ve got to make that meal last.

Docs Diss Obese Patients

As if being overweight or obese isn’t hard enough (think of all the extra diseases it puts you at risk of from heart disease and diabetes to cancer) now comes a new study saying that the people we rely on to help us lose that weight, are more likely to disrespect us because of our weight.

The study, in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, says that obese patients get less respect from physicians than normal-weight patients. In fact the researchers, who surveyed 40 doctors and 238 patients in the Baltimore area, found that the physicians had little respect for around 40 percent of their patients and said that the patients body mass index was “significantly and negatively associated” with respect.

In other words, the fatter the patient the more likely the doctor was to have lower respect for them. Nice eh!

The biggest problem with this is not just that the docs were being hideously insensitive, it’s that many of the patients picked up on the disrespect and said that made them less likely to consult the doctor, and not just about their weight but about other important health issues too such as pap smears, mammograms or other screenings. And that put them at even greater risk of yet more health problems.

The researchers say this is a strong signal that doctors really need to be aware of how they behave in front of patients, and to keep their own personal feelings in check. Because what starts out as a dollop of disrespect from the doc could end up in a deadly disease in a patient who decided not to get help because they hated the way they were treated.

Do Your Kidneys a Favor – Skip the Salt and Soda

Millions of Americans drink a couple of sodas a day and liberally sprinkle their food with salt. It’s a pretty nasty combination as far as the health of your kidneys is concerned, and two new studies reinforce that.

The studies were presented at a meeting of the American Society of Nephrology’s annual meeting in San Diego.

One of them followed 3,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study over 11 years and found that the higher the salt intake over time the lower the kidney function. The second study looked at the same group of women but instead focused on soda intake. They found pretty much the same. The more soft drinks and sodas the woman drank the higher the likelihood of impaired kidney function.

Now kidneys are not something you want to mess around with. They help clean out all sorts of nasty stuff from your blood and help regulate your blood pressure and other assorted vital functions. In short, without them you’d be in deep trouble.

So next time you are staring at a vending machine wondering what deliciously salty snack you’ll buy and which fabulously sugary beverage you’ll wash it down with, think again. Get a bottle of water and an apple. Your kidneys will thank you for it.

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