Perhaps you heard this week about a recent survey that reveals the French spend almost twice as much time eating each day as Americans do? My ears immediately perked up, wondering (as I’ve often wondered) about the connection between speed of food consumption and weight. I’ve noticed in my own life that the more slowly I eat, the less I eat, and the more I enjoy what I’ve eaten. It takes paying a bit of attention, since I eat most of my meals alone and I have a natural tendency to do everything quickly – walk, talk, read (eat, drink). I think it’s pretty fair to say that American food culture – whatever it is, I’d be hard-pressed to define it – does not include leisurely eating, slow chewing, or careful observation and appreciation of the food being eaten.
It’s not just the French who eat more slowly and weigh less than Americans – here’s an interesting chart from the NYTimes Economix blog, based on the same survey:
The chart’s not definitive, but is interesting, and calls to mind these (moderation!) classics:
- Eat when you’re hungry, don’t when you’re not.
- Eat real food.
- Eat slowly (savor, enjoy).
- Eat to relieve hunger, not to become full.