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Men and heavy people may outpace women and slim people in eating speed

November 09, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • Eating speed is linked to calorie consumption, a study finds.
Eating speed is linked to calorie consumption, a study finds. (Ringo H.W. Chiu / Los Angeles…)

If we are what we eat, we also may be how fast we eat. Two studies from the University of Rhode Island offer some insight into the relationship between how fast we eat and how much we eat.

The first study compared eating rates and calories consumed among 30 men and 30 women at various meals. Researchers discovered that people who ate quickly consumed about 3.1 ounces of food per minute, versus 2.5 ounces per minute for medium-speed eaters and 2 ounces per minute for slow eaters.

For those who question whether men eat more than women, wonder no more: At lunch, men ate about 80 calories per minute, while women ate about 52 calories per minute. At breakfast and dinner, men still consumed more calories per minute than women, but the gap wasn't so wide. Still, the researchers reported that men who said they ate slowly ate at about the same rate as women who said they ate quickly.

The second study looked at eating rates among men and women while consuming different types of food. Overall, liquid meals were eaten more quickly than solid meals, and men consumed both liquid and solid foods faster than women.

Researchers also discovered that people with a higher body mass index in general ate much faster than those with a lower BMI. Also, foods with whole grains (whole grain cereal and whole wheat toast) were eaten more slowly than similar foods made with refined grains.

"Whole grains are more fibrous, so you have to chew them more, which takes more time," said co-author Kathleen Melanson, an associate professor of nutrition, in a news release.

Food for thought. The study was presented recently at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society in Orlando.

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