According to new research from the U.S., eating smaller bites and eating slowly encourages people to eat less.
The research from the University of Rhode Island lends credence to advice by grandma to chew food properly, in small amounts and to eat slowly, as it offers up some scientific proof to the notion that such tactics can help people reduce their calorie intake and enjoy their meal more.
The researchers Ana M. Andrade and colleagues from the university's Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences found when they tested the theory, that women ate an average of 70 fewer calories when they ate slowly and chewed each bite thoroughly.
The theory say the researchers suggests that a leisurely dining pace allows time for the body's natural fullness signals to kick in, whereas a hurried meal could actually cause overeating because stomach distension and appetite-related hormones take time to tell the body that it's time to stop eating.
The team say allowing more time for the body's satiated signals to begin to work, and savouring a meal's flavours, textures and aromas, may make people feel more satisfied with fewer calories.
Thirty women were asked to eat a pasta meal on two separate occasions, the first meal was eaten as fast as possible without pauses between bites and the second meal was eaten in small bites, chewed 20 to 30 times, with a rest between mouthfuls.
The researchers say the women ate fewer calories during the second meal and also reported feeling fuller and more satisfied after the meal.
The team say a second study in men and obese adults will be necessary to properly gauge the effects of a slower paced meal.
The research is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.