People That Eat Too Fast

A typical fast food stand on Blackpool promena...

A typical fast food stand on Blackpool promenade. Ohhhhh this picture was used in one of my fave blogs – the ever lovely lifehacker! 🙂 lifehacker.com/5332352/what-to-eat-and-avoid-at-chain-res… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of us eat too fast.  How many?  That’s hard to say, unless you can find a study done on the subject, but there isn’t any as far as I am aware.  However, the total percentage of all people may be far greater than you might think.   In this post, I would like to alert my readers the dangers of wolfing down your food.  I feel like a hypocrite writing such an article, because I’ve done it all of my life.  I don’t know!  Maybe I was born with this habit.

Why Do We Eat So Fast?

Eating fast is a bad habit and one that many of us have developed over time.  But why do we do it?  Since I’ve done it for so many years, perhaps I could tell you.  There are several reasons:

  • We’re constantly busy –  That goes without saying.  Nowadays, most everyone is busy, especially parents that raise children, attend college, and work full time.  We’re constantly on the go and are trying to juggle multiple duties at once.  Even those that only do one or two of the above three things experience stress in their everyday lives.  If it isn’t our basic responsibilities, it could be activities we engage in outside our homes.  Say if we belong to clubs, like bowling leagues, this adds to our busy schedules, leaving us even less time to relax.  This is especially true for business men on the go who work long hours each day.
  • We’re activity-oriented –  Whether we raise families, go to school, or work over 40 hours a week, or perhaps do none of these things, many of us are still workaholics.  Whatever it is, we have something that we feel is extremely important to do.  This may mean maintaining our homes, building an online presence for ourselves (like blogging or making YouTube videos, etc), operating a home-based business, keeping up on the latest video games, etc, these things make us workaholics as well.  Anything we feel is an absolute must for us, it is our number one priority to make the time for it, even if we must skimp on our feeding time.
  • We must fit in a meal while running errands –  While this might overlap with the first two reasons, that is not always the case.  At times when we must do two or more errands under tight time restrictions, we may lack time to sit down and eat a decent meal.  This may be true for those who try to fit in scheduled appointments as getting a haircut, seeing a doctor, shopping for urgently needed items, picking the kids up from school, or any combination of duties requiring one to keep preset appointments or get things done by a certain time.  Although skipping lunch may seem like the thing to do, some of us can’t function so well when we’re hungry.  This is when we fit a meal in on-the-fly.  This is especially true when we’re running behind schedule.
  • We’re doing something else in the meantime –  Many of us eat while watching TV.  Other eat while driving, playing video games, solving puzzles, reading the news, etc.  During such activities, there are moments that require us to be extra alert and act quickly.  We might get cut off in traffic or some dramatic thing happens on TV.  Such events may make us want to quickly swallow that last bite so we can respond appropriately.  By finishing our food quickly, we can attend to our activities with clear minds.
  • We find eating too cumbersome or time consuming –  Those who eat fast aren’t always necessarily busy.  They just don’t have the patience to sit and chew food for minutes between bites.  Eating slowly seems so boring or a real big waste of time.  It’s like they believe they have something better to do, not always knowing what that is.  This is true for me.  Even though I’m not under any time restraints, I fool myself into thinking I am.
  • We anticipate what’s next –   Maybe it’s been several hours since we last had something to eat.  Possibly, it’s a particular food they have long anticipated to receive such as the arrival of a pizza they ordered over the phone.  Being in an environment where great varieties of appetizing foods are offered as a buffet or picnic brings great anticipation to big eaters.  Some can’t wait to finish what’s on their plate so they can move onto something else.  This may be true during food-sampling events.  It’s like: “Once I chomp down my steak, I want to try some of those desserts!”
  • We fear our food will get cold –  Just like coffee, food gets cold in a hurry.  Well it seems to anyway.  For some of us, there is nothing worse than eating cold food.  Yuck!   By gulping down our food, we can minimize the chances that it will.  Better yet, if your food gets cold, reheat it.  Most every house these days has a microwave.  Even if you’re eating at someone else’s house with a large group of people, it is much more polite to ask to use their microwave than to gulp down your food in front of them.
  • It’s a “learned behavior” –   Eating fast isn’t always associated with being busy.  Sometimes we just don’t have the patience to eat slowly.  This is especially true for those who live and/or work alone.  Since nobody sees them eat most of the time, they are free to eat in whatever manner they’re comfortable with.  After doing this for so many years, it’s become a habit and hence, we do it unconsciously.  It’s just like being a “led foot” on the accelerator of your car.  Remember, bad habits have a nasty way of hanging on.

 

I’ve Always Been a Fast Eater

Yes, I’ve developed a bad habit of eating fast since my early childhood.  Most everyone that I would come in contact with would be surprised or shocked because I would eat so fast.  They’re like: “How can you do that?”  I’m like: “You really think I ate that piece of food fast?  I don’t think so!  That’s my normal eating speed.”  My mother would always say, “You eat like you’re going to a fire?”

Why I eat so fast?  I don’t always know.  For me, it’s become a “learned behavior.”  It’s just the way I’ve always consumed food and I see nothing wrong with it.  A great deal of the time I can attribute it to all of the reasons above, but always making excuses for doing it becomes a cop-out and a way to convince myself that it’s OK and I need not change.   Still, a few people have complained about me eating too fast.

Finishing my food before others wasn’t so pleasant either.  All I could do is just sit at the table until everyone else was done.  In some cases I could excuse myself early, but I feel doing that all the time is uncouth.

I have a strong urge to wash my hands immediately after I eat.  That means, I pick up a piece of food and gulp it down so I could get rid of the wrapper or container it’s in right away and rush off to the nearest sink to wash up.  I hate eating and then handling something like a remote control or computer keyboard while my fingers are oily or soiled with food.  It’s just not sanitary.  Hence, instead of sitting down to eat something, I just make it a part of my walk around the house.

Bad Impressions Fast Eaters Create

However, eating too fast is just plainly uncouth.  “Inhaling” your food is bad manners and might give other the impression that you’re a pig.   Those who live with you may not think too much about it since they’re used to seeing you do that.  On the other hand, eating too fast in front of a perfect stranger might scare a potential friend away.

Whenever you want to win the approval of someone you don’t know (such as a date or business client) and you decide to discuss matters at a restaurant, you must not eat fast.  If your potential acquaintance observes that you gulp down your food without chewing it, they’ll get the impression that you only care about stuffing your face and are not concerned so much about them.   As a result, they’ll lose interest in you and will want to put a quick end to the meeting.

Eating fast might lead to sloppiness.  By shoving too much food into your mouth at once, you may end up dribbling it down your chin or spilling it on your shirt.  Neglecting to cut your food into bite sized pieces may cause bits of food to hang out of your mouth while trying to chew.  Not only are you being sloppy and gross: your attention is suddenly diverted away from the person who’s speaking to you.  If you happen to make a mess of yourself, as spilling food down the front of your shirt, you are suddenly under fire to clean it up.  As you do, you ignore what that person said and they’ll realize that you just weren’t listening.

If you want a second meeting with your new acquaintance, please, don’t eat so fast!  Not only will you gross them out, but you may shock them as well.  They might think you’re unscrupulous, selfish, and childish.  It’s like “Hey, this guy has no class whatsoever!”  If they find you’re a sloppy eater, they may doubt your competency in all other aspects of this potential relationship.

Health Problems Associated with Eating Too Fast

Apparently, eating too fast is very unhealthy because:

  • You tend to overeat –  This is because it takes approximately 20 minutes for your stomach to inform your brain that it is full.  The communication process between your brain and stomach is vital in controlling your appetite.  Hence, by gulping down your food, you’re sending a massive amount of calories into your body-a lot more than it really needs.  Imagine you’re ordering a pizza.  You are famished and want it delivered ASAP.   Would you call every pizza delivery service in town to ensure you receive one promptly?  Of course not!  You would end up with more pizzas than you can possibly eat.  Eating too fast has this same effect.
  • You risk indigestion and weight gain –  Now you have an excessive amount of food in your stomach, making the digestive process more difficult than it needs to be.  Your natural hunger and fullness signals have been delayed, leaving you to depend on your desires and emotions to tell you when it’s time to quit.  This often leads to indigestion and excessive weight gain.
  • Frequent bowel movements –  By eating too fast, you are putting more food into your body than it needs.  What does your body do with the excessive food?  It sends it out as waist.
  • Heartburn and acid reflux –  Anyone who eats too fast is prone to developing gastro esophageal reflux disease or GERD.  Excessive acid from the stomach splashes up into the esophagus which leads to heartburn and chest pain.
  • Flatulence and bloating –  If you shovel down your food, you are also swallowing excessive air with each bite.  Not only are you increasing your chances of getting heartburn, you now have a large quantity of food in your stomach forcing it to expand.  Meanwhile, your body needs a way to get rid of that extra air.  This is when flatulence occurs.

This is just an analogy of eating too fast.  Imagine you’re working on an assembly line assembling florescent lights and your job is to insert the light bulbs (you are the stomach).  Once some fixtures reach your station, you discover the light sockets are not securely in place or the wiring is coming undone (the poorly digested food).  This is because the guys ahead of you (the teeth and the saliva) aren’t doing a very good job inserting their parts (chewing the food).  Before you can insert the bulbs, you must fix their negligent work.  Needless to say, you are becoming fatigued and overworked (indigestion) unless you return the faulty work to those responsible.   How would you feel about your job?

Do you still want to continue to eat fast?  If not, keep in mind that digestion starts in the mouth, not the stomach.  Your teeth need to do their share of the work to make further breakdown easier for the small intestines.

Conclusion

It is best to make each meal last for 20 minutes.  Again, this is the amount of time it takes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full.  Simply, lay down your fork or piece of food (such as a hamburger) between bites and take some extra time to chew thoroughly.  Take sips of water between bites.  This way you can savor and enjoy your food more.   Also, don’t do anything else when you’re eating.

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