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26 June 2009
A chemical found in green tea appears to slow the progression of prostate cancer, a study has suggested.
Green tea has been linked to a positive effect on a wide range of conditions, including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
The research, in the US journal Cancer Prevention Research, found a significant fall in certain markers which indicate cancer development.
A UK charity said the tea might help men manage low-risk tumours.
Although previous studies have shown benefits from drinking green tea - including some positive findings in relation to prostate cancer, there have been mixed results.
In this study, Philadelphia-based researchers tested a compound called Polyphenon E.
They were looking for a number of biomarkers - molecules - including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) which are indicators of developing cancer.
They also looked for prostate specific antigen (PSA) - a protein only found in the prostate. Levels can rise if cancer is present.
The study included 26 men, aged 41 to 72 years, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and who were scheduled for radical prostate surgery.
Patients took four capsules containing Polyphenon E for an average of 34 days, up until the day before surgery - the equivalent of around 12 cups of normally brewed concentrated green tea.
The study found a significant reduction in levels of HGF, VEGF and PSA, with some patients demonstrating reductions of more than 30%.
Dr James Cardelli, from the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, who led the study, said the compound, which was provided by the company Polyphenon Pharma, "may have the potential to lower the incidence and slow the progression of prostate cancer."
There were only a few reported side effects associated with this study, and liver function remained normal.
Dr Cardelli said: "We think that the use of tea polyphenols alone or in combination with other compounds currently used for cancer therapy should be explored as an approach to prevent cancer progression and recurrence."
"There is reasonably good evidence that many cancers are preventable, and our studies using plant-derived substances support the idea that plant compounds found in a healthy diet can play a role in preventing cancer development and progression."
'Keep progression at bay'
John Neate, chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity, said: "There have been several studies into green tea and its potential benefits, but there is, as yet, no conclusive evidence.
"The results of this study do suggest that there is merit in further research into the effects of extracts of green tea, both in relation to its impact on the prevention of prostate cancer and in controlling progression in men already diagnosed with the disease, as was investigated in this instance."
"These initial positive findings could indicate that green tea could have a place in 'active surveillance', where a slow-growing, low risk tumour is monitored for changes and men want to take something which could help keep progression at bay.
"Potentially, this could mean completely avoiding, in some cases, any of the more usual medical interventions and their associated side effects."
Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries; they send about a million Americans to clinics every year and cause chronic problems for many.
The problem is clear, but the first-aid treatment is not: heat or cold?
Many people swear by heat, saying it soothes the pain and promotes healing by stimulating blood flow. Others advocate ice, precisely because it does the reverse, slowing blood flow and minimizing inflammation.
According to research, ice wins every time.
In multiple studies, scientists have compared heat and ice by randomly assigning people who showed up at sports clinics with sprains to receive one treatment or the other, in combination with a pain reliever like ibuprofen. One prominent study found that immediate ice therapy “resulted in earlier return to activity, as defined by ability to walk, climb stairs, run and jump without pain.”
In people with the most severe injuries — including torn ligaments — treatment with ice resulted in a 13-day recovery, compared with 30 days for those treated with heat.
For the best results, experts recommend the Price method: protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation. They caution that ice should be applied only 20 minutes at a time.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Ice is far better than heat for ankle sprains.
Q: What is the difference between "100% organic" and "organic"?
A: Organic has a precise meaning under the USDA's organic program. Certified 100% Organic means that all the ingredients in a product have been grown or raised according to the USDA's organic standards, which are the rules for producing foods labeled organic. Certified Organic requires that 95 to 99 percent of the ingredients follow the rules.
What, exactly, are those rules? Summarizing what's in hundreds of pages in the Federal Register:
-- Plants cannot be grown with synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, genetic modification, irradiation or sewage sludge.
-- Animals must be raised exclusively on organic feed, have access to the outdoors, and cannot be given antimicrobial drugs or hormones.
-- Producers will be inspected to make sure these practices are being followed to the letter.
Q: How do we know "organic" truly reflects our beliefs?
A: I am guessing this question refers to the spirit of organics. In the 1920s, the British botanist Albert Howard learned from observing farmers in India that human health depends on growing foods sustainably. Indian farmers taught him the importance of protecting soil nutrients through composted manure, crop rotation and appropriate cultivation, and using biological pest controls. Later, these methods were called "organic."
But USDA organic rules do not say a word about sustainability. This gap occurred as a result of the history of the organic standards (as I recount in "What to Eat"), but also as a result of the USDA's inherent conflicts of interest. The USDA's main job is to promote industrial agriculture. Organics, the USDA says, are just different, not better. Alas, the USDA has not always been a loving home for the organic program.
Q: Do food companies use the word "organic" in the same way they use "health"?
A: USDA organic rules are about the letter of the law, not its spirit. Food marketers, however, take advantage of public perceptions that "organic" implies spirit - sustainability and better nutrition. Companies that follow the rules can legitimately market highly processed foods as organic, taking advantage of their health aura to command higher prices.
No wonder so many big food companies have bought organic product lines (see links.sfgate.com/ZHKJ).Yes, organic junk food is free of synthetic pesticides, but the foods still have calories. As I like to put it, an organic junk food is still a junk food.
Q: Which is worse: eating nonorganic produce full of pesticides or not eating produce at all?
A: Research demonstrates substantial health benefits from eating fruits and vegetables. Although I wish we had more definitive research, these benefits appear to greatly outweigh any risks of pesticides.
If you want to compromise, you can save your organic dollars for the foods most likely to be high in pesticides. These, according to the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org), are peaches, nectarines, apples, bell peppers, strawberries, cherries, pears, raspberries, imported grapes, celery, potatoes and spinach.
In contrast, foods that you peel - onions, peas, bananas, sweet corn and tropical fruits, for example - tend to be low in pesticides.
Q: Is organic food nutritionally worth its higher cost?
A: Foods grown on sustainable soils ought to contain higher levels of nutrients - and some studies show that they do - but organic certification does not require higher nutritional values. Without testing, I'd be hard-pressed to know whether the organic foods I'm buying really are nutritionally better. The main point of organics is production methods, and these require hand labor and careful management, both of which come at a higher cost.
If you believe, as I do, that growing foods according to organic practices is better for the environment, then paying more is worth it if you can afford to.
Q: Aren't organics elitist? People can't buy organic foods if they aren't available at an affordable price.
A: I once heard Eric Schlosser answer a similar question aimed at his book, "Fast Food Nation." He pointed out that social movements have to begin somewhere and that several began with elites but ended up helping the poor and disenfranchised - the civil rights, environmental and women's movements, for example.
I would add the organic movement to this list. It has already forced mainstream food producers to start cutting down on pesticides and to raise farm animals more humanely. As the supply of organic foods increases, and the Wal-Marts of the world sell more of them, organics should become more democratic.
But please don't blame organic producers for the high prices. Until the latest farm bill, which has a small provision for promotion of organic agriculture, organic farmers received not one break from the federal government. In contrast, the producers of corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton continue to get $20 billion or so a year in farm subsidies.
Industrial agriculture also benefits from federally administered marketing programs and from cozy relationships with congressional committees and the USDA. In contrast, the USDA considers fruits and vegetables "specialty crops." This kind of food politics shows up as higher prices in the grocery store.
Dealing with the elitism implied by the higher cost of organics means doing something about income inequities. If we want elected representatives to care more about public health than corporate health, let's work to remove the corruption from election campaign contributions. If Congress were less beholden to corporations, we might be able to create a system that paid farmers and farm workers decently and sold organic foods at prices that everyone could afford.
The organic gardens at the White House and USDA send an important signal that the way we grow food makes a difference. Let's hope they also symbolize a new era in agricultural policies, one that unites the letter and spirit of the organic movement.
“The Devil in the Milk” — Dr. Thomas Cowan on how the A1 – A2 factor explains why even raw milk sometimes does not seem to be enough of an improvement
The trouble is that we have “the wrong kind of cows”. It seems the black and white cows — Holsteins and Friesians — generally give milk that contains a small but significant amount of beta-casein type A1, which behaves like an opiate and which epidemiological studies have implicated in heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, autism and schizophrenia. This is big news, folks. Heart disease is the leading cause of death. This is like cigarettes and cancer. Dr. Thomas Cowan, co-founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation has published this fascinating introduction to the subject in his email newsletter:
“I have been involved in thinking about the medicinal aspects of cow’s milk virtually my entire career. As one four-year-old child pointed out to me many years ago, “Mommy, I know why he always talks about milk, his name is Cow—an.” So, I guess this milk “obsession” is no surprise.
The obsession started in earnest about 25 years ago when I read the book The Milk of Human Kindness Is Not Pasteurized by maverick physician William Campbell Douglass, MD. This was one of the most influential books I have ever read. I became convinced that a large part of the disease in this country is related to the way we handle, or rather mishandle, milk and milk products. Raw and cultured dairy products from healthy grass-fed cows are one of the healthiest foods people have ever eaten. It is the very foundation of western civilization (not that this is necessarily so good). On the other hand, pasteurized, particularly low-fat, milk products have caused more disease than perhaps any other substance people are generally in contact with. This view was re- enforced when I met and joined up with Sally Fallon and learned the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation. End of story, I thought – I could stop thinking about milk.
Over the years, every once in a while Sally would say to me, “You know we have the wrong cows here.” I had also heard this from assorted bio-dynamic farmers but didn’t really know what to make of this or whether this was a medical issue I should be tackling. All along, though, something was not quite right. It remained unmistakably true that many of my patients, in spite of eating only the proper dairy products, still had illness and still seemed not to tolerate milk. Truth be told, for most of my adult life I myself couldn’t drink any kind of raw milk without feeling a bit sick and congested. Somehow my story with milk wasn’t quite finished.
Along came the GAPS diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) and the use of low dose naltrexone, both of which I have described in previous Fourfold newsletters, but the relevance here is that many patients only improved and recovered when they eliminated milk (but not other dairy products) from their diets and took a medicine that stimulated endogenous (one’s own) endorphin production. Then, a further nudge on this topic showed up about a month ago. I was asked to consider writing the foreword to a book called The Devil in the Milk, written by agribusiness professor and farm-management consultant Keith Woodford. In this book Dr. Woodford lays out the theory that there is a devil in some of our milk, and this is something we need to come to grips with.
Here is a brief synopsis of the main thesis of his book. Milk consists of three parts: 1) fat or cream, 2) whey, and 3) milk solids. For this story we are only concerned about the milk solid part, as the fat and whey don’t have this “devil”. The milk solid part is composed of many different proteins which have their own names, lactose, and other sugars. It is the protein part of the solid we’re interested in. One of these proteins is called casein, of which there are many different types, but the one casein we are interested is the predominant protein called beta- casein.
As you may or may not know, all proteins are long chains of amino acids that have many “branches” coming off different parts of the main chain. Beta casein is a 229 chain of amino acids with a proline at number 67 – at least the proline is there in “old- fashioned” cows. These cows with proline at number 67 are called A2 cows and are the older breeds of cows (e.g. Jerseys, Asian and African cows). Some five thousand years ago, a mutation occurred in this proline amino acid, converting it to histidine. Cows that have this mutated beta casein are called A1 cows, and include breeds like Holstein.
The side chain that comes off this amino acid is called BCM 7. BCM 7 is a small protein (called a peptide) that is a very powerful opiate and has some undesirable effects on animals and humans. What’s important here is that proline has a strong bond to BCM 7 which helps keep it from getting into the milk, so that essentially no BCM 7 is found in the urine, blood or GI tract of old-fashioned A2 cows. On the other hand, histidine, the mutated protein, only weakly holds on to BCM 7, so it is liberated in the GI tract of animals and humans who drink A1 cow milk, and it is found in significant quantity in the blood and urine of these animals.
This opiate BCM 7 has been shown in the research outlined in the book to cause neurological impairment in animals and people exposed to it, especially autistic and schizophrenic changes. BCM 7 interferes with the immune response, and injecting BCM 7 in animal models has been shown to provoke Type 1 diabetes. Dr. Woodford presents research showing a direct correlation between a population’s exposure to A1 cow’s milk and incidence of auto-immune disease, heart disease (BCM 7 has a pro-inflammatory effect on the blood vessels), type 1 diabetes, autism, and schizophrenia. What really caught my eye is that BCM 7 selectively binds to the epithelial cells in the mucus membranes (i.e. the nose) and stimulates mucus secretion.
For reasons which are unclear historically, once this mutation occurred many thousand years ago, the A1 beta casein gene spread rapidly in many countries in the western world. Some have speculated that the reason for this wide spread of A1 cows is that the calves drinking A1 cows milk and exposed to the opiate BCM7 are more docile than their traditional brethren (in effect, they were stoned). This is only speculation, of course. But what is true is that basically all American dairy cows have this mutated beta-casein and are predominantly A1 cows.
The amazing thing for me is that all these years Sally was right: it’s not the fat, it’s not the whey, and it’s not raw milk. Consider French cheese – mostly due to culinary snobbery, the French never accepted these A1 breeds of cow, claiming they have lousy milk. Voila, they have good milk and cheese. Our issue in America is that we have the wrong cows. When you take A1 cow milk away, and stimulate our own endorphins instead of the toxic opiate of BCM 7, some amazing health benefits ensue.
So what are we all to do with this? Does this mean no one should drink US raw cow’s milk? One saving grace, as expressed in The Devil in the Milk, is that the absorption of BCM 7 is much less in people with a healthy GI tract. This also parallels the ideas of GAPS theory which talks a lot about this. BCM 7 is also not found in goat’s or sheep’s milk, so these types of milk might be better tolerated.
One final point: we now have one more thing to put on our activism to-do list. Dr. Woodford explains that it is fairly straightforward to switch a herd to become an all A2 herd. No genetic engineering is needed, no fancy tests, just one simple test of the Beta-casein and it can be done. Hopefully, when this becomes widespread we will end up with a truly safe and healthy milk supply. Then maybe I should just change my name. ”
When you're 8 years old, it can be darn hard not eating a cupcake when everyone else is having one. But that's the way life is for Nyla Wright, a Philadelphia-area second-grader who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last year. She still gets treats now and then, but overall has to watch what she pops into her mouth.
An increasing number of children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a condition medical experts blame on a culture steeped in junk food and inactivity that has led to more obese kids. Aggressive early treatment and lifestyle changes can help, and even snuff out disease symptoms, but more sweeping health care system changes, including better health insurance for older teens and people in their 20s, are required for young diabetics to age into healthy older adults, experts say.
TEENS: Not defined by their diabetes
"It's really stunning how the percentages for type 2 diabetes are going up in younger and younger Americans. Clearly, diabetes is following obesity, and both have huge ramifications on long-term health," says Siri Atma Greeley, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
ON THE WEB: KidsHealth.org from experts at Nemours
About 150,000 children in the USA have been diagnosed with diabetes, most with type 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the number of children with type 2 diabetes has been rising steadily in the past decade, says Ann Albright with the CDC. About 3,700 youth were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes from 2002 to 2003 — that's about five in every 100,000 children, according to the CDC. Type 2 is especially affecting Hispanic, African American and American Indian youth.
FIND MORE STORIES IN: University of Chicago | Thomas Jefferson
Possible 'genetic mutations' in children
In type 1 diabetes, the body's pancreas does not make any or enough of the special cells that produce insulin. Insulin helps the body turn food into energy. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes insulin, but the cells in the body aren't able to use it properly. Over time, the disease can cause serious health problems.
There are various theories about why type 2 diabetes is appearing in greater numbers in the young now, says Melinda Sothern, professor of public health at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.
"We have a new generation of children who are metabolically different. We think there's been a series of genetic mutations — linked to environmental and lifestyle changes — over the last few generations that have led to this," says Sothern, who presented research earlier this month on the topic at the American Diabetes Association's annual meeting in New Orleans.
Why a child's body stops using insulin properly — called insulin sensitivity — isn't clear, but Sothern says her government-funded study suggests a child's current body fat is the strongest predictor of poor insulin sensitivity.
While the majority of chubby kids don't get diabetes, if a child has a family history, or a mother who had gestational diabetes was obese while pregnant or did not breast-feed, they can be at risk, Sothern says.
You top that with high-calorie, high-fat eating habits and a lack of exercise, and you can push an at-risk individual over the edge and into diabetes earlier in life, says Rebecca Lipton, associate professor in pediatric endocrinology at the University of Chicago.
In Nyla's case, her father has diabetes, and Nyla is 25 pounds overweight, says Martha Zeger, Nyla's pediatric endocrinologist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.
Nyla takes metformin to lower blood sugar, and the family's health habits have been upgraded, says mom Stephanie. Macaroni and cheese has been replaced by whole grains, veggies and proteins. Nyla swims competitively, too.
Ongoing support from a team of health experts, including a nutritionist, helps, but parents make the biggest difference, Zeger says.
A chilling prognosis for type 2 kids
Still, larger efforts, such as large-scale government programs at the preschool level, are needed to reverse the habits of a junk-food nation and curb the disease, Sothern says.
Anxiety runs high for what aging children with diabetes will be up against in the years ahead.
"The health insurance system is just horrible for these kids as they age. They get kicked out of their cozy pediatric health care systems, knocked off their parents' health plans, then stop care and suffer the consequences," Lipton says.
Long-term complications of untreated diabetes that previously affected adults in their 60s — blindness, kidney failure, amputations and cardiovascular disease — will appear sooner.
"We are already seeing some 20- and 25-year-old kids now on dialysis for kidney failure. It's chilling," Lipton says.
"We're still on the front wave of this epidemic," says Larry Deeb, a Tallahassee pediatric endocrinologist and past president of the American Diabetes Association. "It's a long ways from 17 to 80."
Nyla swims, watches her diet and takes medication.
Increased intakes of vitamin D may improve weight loss while following a calorie-restricted diet, according to new findings from the US.
For every increase of 1 ng/mL in level of 25-hydroxycholecalciferol – a measure of vitamin D status - subjects ended up losing almost 0.2 kg more on their calorie-restricted diet, suggest findings presented at the Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.
Furthermore, for each 1-ng/mL increase in the active form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol), subjects lost 0.107 kg more.
“Our results suggest the possibility that the addition of vitamin D to a reduced-calorie diet will lead to better weight loss,” said the study's lead author, Shalamar Sibley, MD, from the University of Minnesota.
With obesity rates still high – not only in developed countries but also, increasingly, in newly wealthy emerging markets, there is considerable attention to ways to trim down waistlines.
The details on D
Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors - D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and D2, also known as ergocalciferol. The former, produced in the skin on exposure to UVB radiation (290 to 320 nm), is said to be more bioactive.
While our bodies do manufacture vitamin D on exposure to sunshine, the levels in some northern countries are so weak during the winter months that our body makes no vitamin D at all, meaning that dietary supplements and fortified foods are seen by many as the best way to boost intakes of vitamin D.
In adults, it is said vitamin D deficiency may precipitate or exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. There is also some evidence that the vitamin may reduce the incidence of several types of cancer and type-1 diabetes.
Sibley and her co-workers said that previous studies had reported an association between vitamin D deficiency and obesity, but “it is not clear if inadequate vitamin D causes obesity or the other way around”, she said.
The Minnesota-based researchers recruited 38 overweight men and women and followed assigned them to a calorie-restricted diet, which provided 750 calories a day fewer than their estimated total needs, for 11 weeks. Blood levels of vitamin D were measured before and after the 11 week period.
Sibley told attendees in Washington DC that, on average, many of the subjects were vitamin D insufficient. Moreover, pre-diet levels of the vitamin were linked to weight loss in a linear relationship, she said.
Additionally, higher baseline vitamin D levels of both 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D were linked to increased loss of abdominal fat.
Sibley added a note of caution, saying that more research is needed. “Our findings need to be followed up by the right kind of controlled clinical trial to determine if there is a role for vitamin D supplementation in helping people lose weight when they attempt to cut back on what they eat.”
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the University of Minnesota, and the Pennock Family Endowment at the University of Minnesota.
23 June 2009
Ordinary vinegar – acetic acid – may prevent the build up of fat, and therefore weight gain, according to results of a study with mice from Japan.
Animals fed a high-fat diet and supplemented with acetic acid developed about 10 per cent less body fat than mice just eating the diet, according to findings published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
If the results can be repeated in further studies, particularly in human studies, it could see vinegar establish itself in the burgeoning weight management category, estimated to be worth about US$0.93bn (€0.73bn) in Europe in 2005 and $3.93bn in the US, indicating that call to slim down or face the health consequences is being heeded by a slice of the overweight population at least, according to Euromonitor International.
The Japanese researchers, led by Tomoo Kondo from the Central Research Institute of the Mizkan Group Corporation, found that vinegar was working at a genetic level, by influencing genes linked to fatty acid oxidation and heat-generating (energy burning) proteins.
“We intend to perform further clinical studies to confirm fat pad reduction and energy consumption enhancement by vinegar intake. Moreover, we will investigate the effect of acetic acid on fatty oxidative activation in other organs, particularly skeletal muscles,” wrote the researchers.
This is not the first time vinegar has been linked to weight control. In 2005 scientists from Lund University reported that increasing intake of the common flavouring could help dieters eat less and reduce cravings brought on by sugar peaks after meals (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 59, pp 983-988).
Kondo and co-workers fed mice a high-fat diet, with 50 per cent of energy coming from fat, and treated the animals with 1.5 per cent vinegar (high-dose group), 0.3 per cent vinegar (low-dose group), or water (control group).
At the end of the study, the researchers noted that that both vinegar groups produced reductions in fat mass of about 10 per cent, with no apparent dose-dependent effect, compared to the control mice.
Furthermore, the researchers noted changes in the gene-expression of peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPAR-alpha), which controls enzymes linked to fatty-acid-oxidation, such as acetyl-CoA oxidase and carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1, as well as a protein linked to thermogenesis called uncoupling protein-2.
“The results of this study suggest that acetic acid suppresses body fat accumulation by increasing fatty oxidation and thermogenesis in the liver through PPAR-alpha,” wrote the researchers.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print, ASAP Article, doi: 10.1021/jf900470c
“Acetic Acid Upregulates the Expression of Genes for Fatty Acid Oxidation Enzymes in Liver To Suppress Body Fat Accumulation”
Authors: T. Kondo, M. Kishi, T. Fushimi, T. Kaga
One of the problems in our daily lives is that many of us rush through the day, with no time for anything … and when we have time to get a bite to eat, we gobble it down.
That leads to stressful, unhealthy living.
And with the simple but powerful act of eating slower, we can begin to reverse that lifestyle immediately. How hard is it? You take smaller bites, you chew each bite slower and longer, and you enjoy your meal longer.
It takes a few minutes extra each meal, and yet it can have profound effects.
You may have already heard of the Slow Food Movement, started in Italy almost two decades ago to counter the fast food movement. Everything that fast food is, Slow Food isn’t.
f you read the Slow Food Manifesto, you’ll see that it’s not just about health — it’s about a lifestyle. And whether you want to adopt that lifestyle or not, there are some reasons you should consider the simple act of eating slower:
Lose weight. A growing number of studies confirm that just by eating slower, you’ll consume fewer calories — in fact, enough to lose 20 pounds a year without doing anything different or eating anything different. The reason is that it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full. If we eat fast, we can continue eating past the point where we’re full. If we eat slowly, we have time to realize we’re full, and stop on time. Now, I would still recommend that you eat healthier foods, but if you’re looking to lose weight, eating slowly should be a part of your new lifestyle.
Enjoy your food. This reason is just as powerful, in my opinion. It’s hard to enjoy your food if it goes by too quickly. In fact, I think it’s fine to eat sinful foods, if you eat a small amount slowly. Think about it: you want to eat sinful foods (desserts, fried foods, pizza, etc.) because they taste good. But if you eat them fast, what’s the point? If you eat them slowly, you can get the same amount of great taste, but with less going into your stomach. That’s math that works for me. And that argument aside, I think you are just happier by tasting great food and enjoying it fully, by eating slowly. Make your meals a gastronomic pleasure, not a thing you do rushed, between stressful events.
Better digestion. If you eat slower, you’ll chew your food better, which leads to better digestion. Digestion actually starts in the mouth, so the more work you do up there, the less you’ll have to do in your stomach. This can help lead to fewer digestive problems.
Less stress. Eating slowly, and paying attention to our eating, can be a great form of mindfulness exercise. Be in the moment, rather than rushing through a meal thinking about what you need to do next. When you eat, you should eat. This kind of mindfulness, I believe, will lead to a less stressful life, and long-term happiness. Give it a try.
Rebel against fast food and fast life. Our hectic, fast-paced, stressful, chaotic lives — the Fast Life — leads to eating Fast Food, and eating it quickly. This is a lifestyle that is dehumanizing us, making us unhealthy, stressed out, and unhappy. We rush through our day, doing one mindless task after another, without taking the time to live life, to enjoy life, to relate to each other, to be human. That’s not a good thing in my book. Instead, rebel against that entire lifestyle and philosophy … with the small act of eating slower. Don’t eat Fast Food. Eat at a good restaurant, or better yet, cook your own food and enjoy it fully. Taste life itself.