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Eating too fast leads to weight gain


*Gene prompts cells to store fat, fueling obesity

Eating too fast may be bad for both your heart and your figure.Eating too quickly may add an extra size to your waistline, as well as raise your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, according to new research.

The results of a new study — recently presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017, held in Anaheim, CA — suggest that gobbling down your food may seriously harm your cardiometabolic health.

Dr. Takayuki Yamaji — a cardiologist at Hiroshima University in Japan — is the lead author of the study, which examined more than 1,000 participants over a period of five years.


The study focused on the relationship between eating speed and the incidence of metabolic syndrome, which is the collective name given to five risk factors for serious cardiometabolic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

These five risk factors are high blood pressure, high triglycerides, or the fats found in the blood, high blood sugar, low levels of the “good” cholesterol, and a large waistline.

Also, Obesity is often attributed to a simple equation: People are eating too much and exercising too little. But evidence is growing that at least some of the weight gain that plagues modern humans is predetermined.

New research from the Research Triangle suggests that variants in a gene called ankyrin-B — carried by millions of Americans — could cause people to put on pounds through no fault of their own.

The study, which was conducted in mice, shows that the gene variation causes fat cells to suck up glucose faster than normal, more than doubling their size. When an aging metabolism or high-fat diet is added to the equation, obesity becomes all but inevitable.

“We call it fault-free obesity,” said Vann Bennett, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and George Barth Geller Professor of Biochemistry at Duke University School of Medicine.

“We believe this gene might have helped our ancestors store energy in times of famine. In current times, where food is plentiful, ankyrin-B variants could be fueling the obesity epidemic.”

The results appear the week of November 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Meanwhile, Dr. Yamaji and his colleagues examined 1,083 participants, 642 of whom were male. On average, participants were a little over 51 years old.


These people had no signs of metabolic syndrome at the beginning of the study in 2008, and the researchers followed them over a period of five years.Over the five-year follow-up period, 84 people developed metabolic syndrome. Overall, higher eating speed correlated with greater weight gain, higher blood sugar, higher levels of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol, and a larger waistline.

Fast eaters were almost twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome compared with their normal eating counterparts.More specifically, fast eaters had an 11.6 percent higher chance of developing the risk factors, compared with a 6.5 percent chance in normal eaters. Meanwhile, slow eaters had only a 2.3 percent chance of developing metabolic syndrome.

The study authors conclude, “Eating speed was associated with obesity and future prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Eating slowly may therefore […] be a crucial lifestyle factor for preventing metabolic syndrome among the Japanese.”

In this article:
Takayuki Yamaji
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