Overweight and obesity are characterized by an excess in body fat. The cells found in the adipose tissue are called the adipocytes and are responsible for storing the fat. The fat stored in these cells is in a semi-liquid state and consists of triglycerides and cholesterol ester.

A fat cell measures in average 0,1 millimeter in diameter and can grow up to fifty times its size.
It is considered that an adult has an average of about 20 billion fat cells that can weigh up to 13,5 kilograms. In a healthy subject reaching its adult weight, the cells size increases by four and than divides and increases  significantly.

slowcontrol gathered medical researches on obesity and overweight

The number of adipocytes increases during childhood and adolescence while in adulthood the quantity remains rather constant. However when the adipocytes cells reach their maximum capacity, they can grow up to 10 times in order to increase the storage capacity. We can note that an individual becoming obese during adulthood will have less adipocytes than an individual whose pathology was reported in adolescence.
The adipocytes increase or loose their fat content but decreasing their number is not easy. The medical studies on tachyphagia show a strong correlation between the behavior which consists of « eating quickly» and the fact of suffering of overweight, or obesity at all stages of life.
BMI : We consider that a person is overweight when its BMI (body mass index = weight in kg divided by the height in meter²) is between 25 and 30, obese when its BMI exceeds 30.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is characterized by a failure in the regulation of glycemia and an excess of sugar in the blood. For a diabetic person, the pancreas lacks to produce or produces too little insulin which is the hormone that enables the absorption of glucose found in the blood from the cells. Therefore, this leads to a state of hyperglycemia harmful to the health (occlusion of blood networks and more specifically of small capillaries, attack of internal organs including the kidneys, the heart… ) The Lithuanian study of 2013 shows that the risk of type 2 diabetes is multiplied by 2,52 for a fast eater.

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The pancreas is an organ that intervenes at the end of the digestion process. It appears that eating quickly and  overtiring the pancreas participates to its deregulation.
Indeed, eating quickly accelerates the arrival of sugar in the blood whereas eating slowly stimulates naturally  the secretion of the digestive hormone GLP1.
Yet this hormone contributes to filter the passing of sugar in the blood by slowing down the gastric emptying and by stimulating the secretions of insulin. Moreover, the GLP1 inhibits the production of glucagon, hormones that stimulate glycemia unlike the insulin.

An important number of hormones regulates the food intake and the energy expenditure. To maintain a stable energy intake for the smooth running of the organism, orexigenic signals (stimulating the food intake) and anorexigenic signals ( inhibiting the food intake) coordinate.

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Ghrelin is the only orexigenic hormone discovered until now. It is secreted by the stomach. Among the anorexigenic hormones, we consider the cholecystokinin, the peptide YY (PYY) and the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) secreted by the small intestine as well as the leptin produced by the adipose tissue (by the adipocytes).
Complex mechanisms of feedback loop are formed throughout the meal. These messages (hormonal secretions) enable the regulation of food intake. The medical studies show that eating slowly encourages the concentration of satiety hormones such as GLP1 and cholecystokinin.

According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), nutrition is characterised by food intake that serves the needs of our organism. Two terms are essential to remember : the nutrients and the calories. The nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals) are elementary components found in food products, or nature necessary for our organism. They cover our physiological needs and allow us to function effectively.

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Malnutrition is characterised by an inappropriate consumption of food; it is the result of a deficit or an excess of specific nutrients. A calorie is a unit of energy. All the food products that we consume contain calories but some of them provide empty calories. These calories contain a lot of energy but very few essential non-energetic components such as fibers, minerals and micronutrients.

The medical studies show that particularly rich food products that need to be consumed with temperance are most of the time low viscosity food products. Yet, the less the food is viscous, the more it will be eaten quickly. On the opposite, high viscosity food is meant to have a better nutritional value and is eaten more slowly. The fibers for instance require an important chewing effort. Note that, food quality is an area of strong investment research backed by the food –processing industry.

Professor Brian Wansink has based his interest on studying the way our immediate environment (supermarkets, packages, households, pantry, setting up, service) influences our food habits and preferences. His work at the « Food and Brand Lab » at Cornell university is recognized for having enabled to improve the scientific knowledge related to what we eat and the way we buy our food. This has lead to his nickname « Sherlock Holmes » or « Wizard of Why ». He puts forward that in order to eat better and less, some slight modifications need to be made in our homes and daily routines. In his book Mindless Eating, Brian Wansink develops the idea that the best diet is the one we are unaware of following.

 

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Following the studies he has conducted, he showed that moving from a plate that measures 12 inches to 10 inches allows the eater to serve himself and eat up to 22% less and to significantly reduce his speed of food intake (in particular the fork serving size ; we granted him the paternity of the Small Plate  Movement=movement in favor of small plates).
An individual consumes in average 92% of food when he helps himself. Product labels mentioning « low fat » lead people to consume 16 to 23% calories more. Because of optical illusions, individuals (even Philly bartenders) pour 28% more in a large glass than a tall glass.
50% of the food that we snack bought in bulk (for example the specialized shops) is consumed six days after purchase.
When children choose their portions themselves, they take less food than if a portion was served to them. Furthermore, by doubling the size of a starter they increase the size of the mouthfuls by 25% and the total energy requirements by 15%.

Bariatric surgery is an operation which consists of reducing the absorption of food in severe obesity cases.
Three methods are used : the gastric band, the gastric sleeve and gastric by –pass. The gastric band works like an hourglass. By surrounding the stomach, the ring will « partition » it.
The gastric sleeve is an operation that consists of removing one part of the stomach. The gastric bypass consists of reducing one part of the stomach by modifying the food system : a part of the digestive system is by-passed.
Generally, these operations, enable to accelerate the occurence of the feeling of satiety and thus to reduce the portion size. The operations are serious and require a very specific lifestyle before and after two or three years following the operation in order to maximise the chances of success.

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We consider cardio metabolic risks, the risks linked to the development of cardiac or metabolism diseases. The factors are various and often linked to basic occasional behaviours which repeated chronically become problematic.
For instance, unhealthy eating « junk food » is very well known for being related to the risk of developing hypertension, hyperglycemia and excess of cholesterol.
The medical studies demonstrate a strong correlation between the behaviour which consists of « eating quickly » and the cardio metabolic risks.

The gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects 20 to 30 % of the population, a number in constant evolution. Stomach burns, acid reflux, bitter taste in the mouth, sleep disorders… The discomfort can be important.

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The gastroesophageal reflux disease is characterised by the passing of acid reflux in the esophagus
after meals. It corresponds to a failure of the anti-reflux system that mainly includes the abdominal segment and the inferior sphincter of the oesophagus. The oesophagus does not have any protection (unlike the stomach that is covered by a mucous that protects the acid effects) therefore the acid reflux that rises from the stomach creates burns and inflammations.
The medical studies show that eating slowly enables to reduce significantly the number of reflux among the people concerned.

 

 

All other things being equal, the studies demonstrate that eating quickly is correlated to a more important absorption of food compared to eating slowly.

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The first step of digestion takes place in the mouth. It is called mastication. It is defined by the action of crushing food with the teeth.

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The mastication process is so composed :
First of all, the incisives cut the food. Then, the canine teeth will tear them off and finally the molars and premolars crush the food. Food products are impregnated by saliva which allows a better passage through the stomach. Another organ intervenes in the chewing process, the tongue. It enables to displace the food that is not yet chewed under the molars in order to crush them .The tongue also permits to enhance the mixture of saliva
with the food.
In order to facilitate a good digestion, chewing is essential. Chewing well, enables the body to better assimilate food. Yet the medical studies show that a good mastication allows to significantly slow down the speed of food intake.
Note that mastication has other « virtues ». Taking time to chew stimulates the secretions of saliva which particularly contributes to a good dental health. Moreover, mastication favors and maintains the maxillofacial
muscles that are essential for the effective development of the jaw for young children.
At last, the studies suggest that keeping
the food products long enough in mouth
helps the brain and body to perceive more
signals and the hormonals and enzymatics
(gastric juices) responses are enhanced.

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The concept of Mindful eating finds its roots in the buddhist methods. It consists of building awareness of its eating habits, the feelings that we experience while eating as well as our emotions and thoughts.
This concept puts forward the way we eat in contrast to what we eat. The doctor Jan Chozen Bays, author of the book on Mindful eating : a guide to rediscovering a healthy and joyful relationship to food underlines that the real issue is that we tend to release our attention when we eat, to gulp down rather than to enjoy, take our time and chew.
Some nutritionists of Harvard university, doctor Lilian Cheung and professor Brian Wansink of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell university are authors of books on Mindful eating. The medical studies show a more significant weight loss from the groups having received awareness lessons on eating « consciously » compared to the « unconscious group ». The conscious eaters better succeed in « controlling » themselves when eating at the restaurant. Finally, people are more likely to « progress » on their eating habits when « mindful eating » lessons are proposed.
Therapy (SMART™) is a bariatric medical device that has been developed by Scientific Intake.
It is a non-invasive device. It is removable and is placed on the upper palate only when you eat. By restricting the buccal space, SMART ™ imposes people to take smaller bites and thus to slower down their speed of food intake.
The following medical study (Australia) puts forward the appropriateness of the device with a strong correlation between weight loss and the compliance of its use by the participants (defined by a minimum use of 5 times per week, representing 80% of the patients).

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The participants appreciate the comfort of the device and its effectiveness : chewing is improved,the fork serving size and the speed of food intake are reduced with an equivalent or improved level of satiety, while the meals
size has decreased. They also pretend having a better consciousness of their behaviour. The negative aspect if there is one, apart from small necessary adjustments (in dental office), are the difficulties of speech that has penalised its usage in society. The second study aims at validating the method used to put in place a certain number of protocols and to consider the speed of food intake reported by the participants.