Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow swear by it – and now researchers have proven that chewing food properly does help us eat less at the dinner table.

A study has found that eating slowly and having smaller bites makes us feel less hungry an hour afterwards than if we wolf down food.

People who ate slowly also drank more, which helped them feel fuller, the researchers said.

Researchers from Texas Christian University explored the relationship between eating speed and calorie intake by looking at how eating speed affects calories consumed during a meal.

They also questioned the volunteers on their feelings of hunger and fullness before and after the fast-paced and slow-paced meals and how much water they drank during each of them.

During the slow-paced meal, people were instructed to imagine they had no time constraints, take small bites, chew thoroughly, and pause and put the spoon down between bites.

For the the hastily-eaten meal, they were told to imagine they were in a rush, take large bites, chew quickly, and not to pause and put the spoon down.

The researchers found that people who ate slowly ate, on average, 88 fewer calories than the fast eaters.

Overweight people, however, ate only 58 fewer calories on average.

Professor Meena Shah said: ‘Slowing the speed of eating led to a significant reduction in energy intake in the normal-weight group, but not in the overweight or obese group.’

She suggested the findings for the overweight group may be partly because these people ate less food during the trial – perhaps because they felt self-conscious compared to normal weight people.

However both groups who ate slowly reported feeling less hungry later on than those who ate quickly.

Dr Shah said: ‘In both groups, ratings of hunger were significantly lower at 60 minutes from when the meal began during the slow compared to the fast eating condition.

‘These results indicate that greater hunger suppression among both groups could be expected from a meal that is consumed more slowly.’

Slow eaters also drank more water while eating (12oz as opposed to 9oz) which could helped feelings of fullness – and prevented over-eating.

Dr Shah added: ‘The higher water intake during the slow eating condition probably caused stomach distention and may have affected food consumption.

‘Slowing the speed of eating may help to lower energy intake and suppress hunger levels and may even enhance the enjoyment of a meal.’

The study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

source: dailymail UK