This is possibly because it may take longer for fast eaters to feel full, whereas this might happen more quickly for slow eaters, helping to curb their calorie intake, the researchers suggest. According to the researchers from Kyushu University in Japan, chewing slowly and refraining from eating for two hours before bedtime may help cut down on weight.
During their health checks participants were asked about the speed they ate food, fast, normal or slow, and other food habits including whether they snacked after dinner and skipped breakfast.
In the study, obesity was defined as having a BMI score over 25 - in Ireland, people are deemed to be overweight with a BMI score over 25 and obese with a score over 30.
At the start of the study, some 22,070 people routinely wolfed down their food; 33,455 ate at a normal speed; 4192 lingered over every mouthful. Just over half of participants changed their eating speed over the course of the study.
The results reveal that 21.5% of the slow-eating group was obese, compared to nearly 30% of the normal-speed group and 45% of the fast-eating group.
Although absolute reductions in waist circumference were small, they were greater among the slow and normal speed eaters.
The researchers also found that participants who, at least three times a week, continued to eat snacks after dinner or went to bed less than two hours after dinner showed worsened BMI measurements.
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Skipping breakfast, however, did not seem to have any effect.
"The major finding of this study is that changes in eating speed can affect obesity, BMI and waist circumference", conclude authors Yumi Hurst and Haruhisa Fukuda.
In a study tracking the eating habits of almost 60,000 participants with type 2 diabetes, over a period of close to six years, researchers discovered those who ate more slowly tended to be thinner.
Adults with type 2 diabetes who reported "fast" eating speeds had a higher risk for obesity than those who reported eating at "normal" or "slow" speeds.
Jebb said that while there's little definitive proof that slowing your eating speed has a direct impact on your weight, it's unlikely to hurt.
What's more it relied on the participants revealing the pace they ate, rather than actually scientifically measuring the speed. More calories result in weight gain.
Dr Simon Cork, from Imperial College London, said: "This is an interesting study, and confirms what we already believe, that eating slowly is associated with less weight gain than eating quickly". Next time you consider a weight loss program make sure your brain doesn't hold you back. In another study, people were asked to eat ice cream slower, which caused more of their gut hormones to be secreted, which made more people report that they were feeling fuller.