What's more, researchers also found eating evening meals at least two hours before going to bed three times a week cut the risk of being overweight by 10 per cent.
And although absolute reductions in waist circumference-an indicator of a potentially harmful midriff bulge-were small, they were greater among the slow and normal speed eaters.
An analysis of these answers compared to the BMI and waist measurements of the respondents revealed that slow eaters had a 42 percent lower chance of being obese compared to fast eaters, while people who ate at normal speed had a 29 percent lower chance. The study tracked almost 60,000 people and discovered that how fast they ate and the timing of their evening meal and snacks appeared to be significant factors in whether they ended up obese or managed to lose weight.
The research team also found that people who brought minor tweaks to their lifestyles like saying no to post-dinner snacks, eating slowly, and leaving a few-hour window between dinner and bedtime reduced their BMI.
"Skipping breakfast has also been shown to be associated with excess weight and obesity, and is a risk factor of metabolic syndrome", the authors wrote in their study. 'Interventions aimed at reducing eating speed may be effective in preventing obesity and lowering the associated health risks'. Around 52% of the total sample changed their eating speed over the six year study.
The average BMI of the slow-eating group was 22.
However, they cautioned that people who took part in the study were "relatively health-conscious individuals" who voluntarily participated in health check-ups, so the findings may have "limited applicability to less health-conscious people".
If you tend to be a fast eater, Crowley suggests trying to practice mindful eating, in which you consciously pay attention to each bite of food you put into your mouth and notice your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
Whatever the reason, it's likely you'll lower your weight if you train yourself to eat slower. Experts say that when we eat quickly, our bodies don't have time to register the hormonal changes that signal when we are full. Next time you consider a weight loss program make sure your brain doesn't hold you back. This may be due to the fact that the satiety signal takes some time to travel from the stomach to the brain, and may arrive only after the fast eater has already consumed more than enough. Katarina Kos, Obesity Specialist at Exeter Medical University, said that it would be interesting to conduct the study on a larger population, not necessarily on people suffering from diabetes, to check whether the weight loss found in the Japanese study corresponded to treatment for this disease.