Today’s pace of life often makes let’s steal time from issues as fundamental as food. We often have a quick breakfast on the way to work or eat at full speed to gain some time that allows us to be more productive or feel that we improve the reconciliation of our work and personal life.
Beyond other reflections on this culture of haste, it is interesting to balance time and health and stop for a few minutes to assess the possible consequences of eating too fast. Have you ever experienced excessive gas? Do you usually have heavy digestions? How long have you not paid attention to your feelings of hunger and satiety?
Regarding the first problem, the excessive swallowing of air during and between meals is called aerophagia. It can cause anything from mild discomfort and a feeling of heaviness and swelling to abdominal pain and distension (an objective and visible increase in abdominal diameter after eating).
The normal gas content in the digestive tract when we are fasting is approximately 200 milliliters. If this amount increases significantly, the physiological mechanisms for its expulsion can become very annoying. This volume depends on the balance between the intake and production of gas and its elimination, in the form of belching, flatulence or through its consumption by the intestinal microbiota.
One of the main factors in increasing both air intake and gas production is eating fast.although the consumption of chewing gum, smoking or alterations of the aforementioned microbiota can also contribute.
On the other hand, at eating quickly chewing time decreases and food reaches the stomach practically whole, which requires increased production of gastric juices to be able to digest them properly. This, which also requires a greater metabolic effort, causes the annoying feeling of heaviness and indigestion that accompanies express meals.
Another aspect that can be influenced if we do not chew enough – and therefore do not allow the action of oral enzymes – is the absorption of food in the small intestine. So, despite the stomach’s efforts to make up for this deficit, food can reach the intestine without being sufficiently digested.
No signal to stop
If we now focus on the aforementioned feelings of hunger and satiety, we will have to refer to the intestine-brain axis, since this last organ is responsible for sending the signals that orchestrate the digestion process, on the one hand, and the need to seek food or fasting, on the other.
Two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, respectively regulate satiety and hunger. Once we see, smell and start to eat a food, the first one takes between 20 and 30 minutes to activate. When we eat too fast, we eat amounts that exceed our actual energy needs.since leptin does not have time to tell us that we are already full.
If you still do not see the time-health balance clearly tipped, several studies show a relationship between the speed at which we eat and the cardiovascular risk factors, elevated triglyceride levels and increased chances of suffering from metabolic syndrome (which increase by up to 59%) or develop overweight and obesity, especially in the diabetic population.
It is worth stopping for a bit, sit down and enjoy a leisurely breakfast or a quiet meal. Chew slowly and pay attention to your satiety. Invest time and gain health.
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original.