How Speedy Eating Can Impact Your Spine

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You sit down to dinner with your family, and next thing you know, your plate is empty while everyone else is still enjoying their meal. It takes roughly 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that it’s full, but if you’re racing though courses, you may miss that signal before you’re full (and then some).

Sit, Slow Down and Enjoy

Studies have linked certain eating behaviors with being overweight and obese. One of those behaviors is eating too fast. A Japanese study explored a combination of eating habits and concluded that eating until full and eating quickly had a strong association with being overweight. A prospective Western study also found that rapid eating can be associated with weight gain. This study resulted with over 42% of participants gaining 10 or more pounds over a seven-year period.

Taking the time to slow down and enjoy your meal can have a positive impact on your health. If you eat too quickly, you can over consume calories. Eating slower gives your stomach time to tell your brain "I've had enough" and if you listen, you may not feel quite so stuffed after meals.

Overeating Can Lead to Pain

A higher prevalence of lower back pain has been shown to be present among those who are overweight. Studies are shifting from being exclusive to the cause of back pain in the obese to include interventions that promote weight loss and subsequently reduce back pain.

Surgical intervention for weight loss, including gastroplasty and lap band procedures, have been shown to be accompanied by a significant improvement in lower back pain. In addition, a recent study assessing the efficacy of non-surgical methods for weight loss and reduction of back pain showed that conservative treatment options such as a medically supervised diet, exercise and education show promise and warrant continued investigation.

Slow and Steady

Eating at a slower pace can send you on a path to maintaining a healthy weight and healthier spine. And since eating slowly could be easier said than done, here are some tips to help:

  • Chew each bite 20–25 times to help with digestion
  • Put your fork down between each bite — using chopsticks can also slow consumption
  • Savor the texture and flavor of each bite
  • Take part in conversation and social time at meals
  • When eating with a group, begin eating after everyone else and pace yourself to finish last

If you’re struggling with spine pain and looking for relief, visit a spine specialist at AdventHealth to get started on the path to healing.

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