The word “skinny” has long been associated with fitness and health, (think the success of “Skinny Bitch”)–but skinny doesn’t equal healthy, and many seemingly slim people have Normal Weight Obesity (NWO), or so-called “skinny fat.” This occurs when a normal BMI individual has higher than 30% body fat. And it’s more prevalent than you’d think: according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, up to 1 in 4 normal weight people are prediabetic and metabolically obese.
Studies suggest that the rate of NWO might be much higher in externally svelte Japanese population, perhaps as much as 50% of normal BMI women. Um, yikes! To examine the cause of NWO, Japanese scientists compared the diet and eating habits of normal and NWO female college students, taking note of what, when, and how much they eat, and found that this surprising thing was the factor associated with normal weight metabolic obesity. (Hint: it’s not calories or fat intake!)
…It’s eating quickly!!!
Here’s what the researchers found: there were no significant differences in caloric and nutrient intake between the two groups. In fact, the “skinny fat” metabolically obese group ate significantly LESS saturated fat, sugar, and candies than the normal group. (They ate more overall oils and sugar). The groups showed no significant difference in other eating habits such as eating breakfast, afternoon snack, or apres-dinner snack. But the skinny fat people ate faster than the control group, leading the researchers to conclude that faster eating may cause insulin resistance, leading to more body fat storage.
Like Mom always said–chew slowly, no one’s going to steal your food! (or maybe that was just my mom, after seeing me devour my food like a wolf cub as my sister picked on hers like a bird). But it makes perfect sense–you put a lot of effort into making your meal, so savor it as slowly as you can!
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