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Research Related to SlimSmart

Most research targets what not how

With all the research on diet and nutrition, it is remarkable that most of this work has been done on what we eat, as opposed to how we eat it. Indeed, the focus on what we eat is certainly an important part of the picture. Yet today, there is a world-wide health concern: overweight and obesity. This problem is escalating as people in underdeveloped countries get adequate and perhaps excessive caloric intake, while their work output required for life decreases. Sometimes what is eaten is certainly important in this regard, but how and how much tend to outweigh the former once adequate nutrition is achieved.

Horace Fletcher perhaps earliest how promoter

One of the earliest promoters of changing how one eats was a man named Horace Fletcher, (1849-1919) of Lawrence Mass. He evolved a system called Fletcherism, concerned chiefly with the slow mastication (chewing) of food. Among his numerous publications are Glutton or Epicure(1899) and Fletcherism: What It Is (1913). Try looking up Fletcherism or Fletcherize in any dictionary.

If you follow Fletcherism, you will chew each bite of food until it becomes a watery mass in your mouth before swallowing. This has two effects. First, if you chew a bite of food that long, you will be consuming your meal at a slower rate. Secondly, the reduction of this food to a watery mass means that it will be less difficult to extract nutrients from the food.

Are thin eaters slow eaters?

It is commonly understood that if you are a slow eater, that you will feel full (satiated) before eating as much as if you eat faster. Most diet programs add this as helpful advice: "eat slowly; set your fork down between bites." But, is there any real scientific "proof" that this works?

Surprisingly, there is very little work done on how to eat, probably because it is extremely difficult to adopt new habits, and it is hard to make any money teaching people to eat right, but it is easy to make money selling a new diet pill or nutritional supplement that you must buy over and over. Nevertheless, some researchers have found this to be an interesting area of research.

One of the very first scientific articles was published in 1975 by Donna Gaul entitled "Relationship Between Eating Rates and Obesity". In this paper, a comparison was made in eating behaviors of obese and nonobese subjects in a naturalistic setting. It was found that obese subjects took more bites, performed fewer chews per bite, and spent less time chewing than did nonobese subjects.

Perhaps the reason not much research has been performed in this area is that researchers find the results to be obvious. It's like dropping a cat 100 times to see if it will land on it's feet. Most people feel that's 99 times too many, one test is enough to prove the point. You can witness this fact yourself, in any public restaurant. Look how fast people eat, and compare rates of eating between overweight and thin individuals. Do you need to drop the cat 99 more times? I don't think so.

Thin eaters slow down during the meal

In what other ways does the eating behavior of normal-weight eaters differ from overweight eaters? It has been found that the rate of eating varies somewhat during the meal, that is, between the start of the meal to the end. This topic was researched by observing people eat, and simultaneously weighing the table holding the food. So, it was the rate of change of the weight of the food being eaten, and not the volume in this case. Britta Barkeling found in 1992 that obese subjects ate about 15% more, 10% faster and they did not decelerate during the second have of the meal whereas normal weight subjects did.

The thought is that thin eaters start to feel satiated and then slow-down toward the end of the meal. Apparently, some overweight eaters actually speed up toward the end of the meal, perhaps in an effort to get in that last bite or two.

Overeaters Overeat

One of the simplest concepts is that overeaters overeat. Certainly, that has to be true since the definition of overeating is that one consumes more than necessary, typically resulting in overweight. Again, there is not much use in dropping the cat even one time to determine this obvious fact. But surprisingly, there is quite a lot of research in this area. The usual focus of this research is to determine what is the most important component between

  • What type of food is eaten
  • How much food is eaten, and
  • How much exercise is performed
  • Is there any genetic "predisposition" to obesity

It is not hard to realize that the most important component of this is How much food is eaten. How many overweight people have you seen in film clips of Nazi concentration camps? Answer: None. Even those "genetically predisposed" to be obese are thin. It is a simple fact that if you keep eating less food, you will eventually lose weight. Period.

In terms of what is eaten, if you don't get enough calories, eating high-calorie food WILL NOT cause overweight either. Even if those concentration camp inmates ate straight fat. And those people were excessively thin even though they probably weren't exercising enough. But, they are not the picture of health either, and we certainly aren't proposing that you sign-up for a concentration camp to lose weight (although some diets may seem like you are in one).

Another misconception is that exercise is the most important component to weight loss. Studies have shown time and time again, that adding exercise may improve weight loss by perhaps 10%. And, exercising without restricting the diet has almost no effect, since it is easy to eat a bit more to compensate for the energy expenditure. These results are unpopular amongst Health Clubs that promote their business on the guise that you lose weight when you exercise more. On the other hand, quite a few references suggest that exercise is a key element to maintaining a target weight. The best way to put this into a nutshell is this: limiting intake means weight-loss and exercise means fitness.

Interested in more research results? Look through our references page, which provides annotated research results relevant to obesity and nutrition. Also, see information on the specific clinical experiments we performed with SlimSmart.


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