Next time you’re about to scoff a meal, you might want to think about slowing down.
Researchers have found that people who eat their food quickly are 2.5 times more likely to suffer type 2 diabetes.
The study by the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences asked 234 people recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and 468 people without diabetes to answer a questionnaire about their eating speed.
After taking into account other risk factors, such as body measurements, family history, body mass index and exercise habits, the researchers discovered a clear link between fast eating and type 2 diabetes.
Past studies have pointed to a link between eating speed and obesity, but this is the first time eating quickly has been identified as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
“The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing globally and becoming a world pandemic. It appears to involve interaction between susceptible genetic backgrounds and environmental factors,” says researcher Dr Lina Radzeviciene from Lithuanian University of Health Sciences.
“It's important to identify modifiable risk factors that may help people reduce their chances of developing the disease."
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body produces insufficient insulin, which leads to increased blood glucose levels. It affects almost 788,000 Australians and is more common in people who do insufficient exercise and are overweight.
Deborah Schofield, manager of education services at Diabetes WA, says she’s not surprised by the research.
“If you eat quickly, you don’t get the full effect of the feedback mechanism between the gut and your brain telling you that you have had enough so you are more likely to overeat,” she says.
“[We need] to have a look at our lifestyles and make sure we have a balanced lifestyle so we give ourselves time to eat properly,” she says.