ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Case for Mindful Eating

Updated on October 28, 2018

Traditionally, the teachings of Buddhism and some other religious faiths urge us to be mindful about every act, at every moment, every day of our lives. Mindfulness is the act of paying full, non-judgmental attention to our moment-to-moment experience. It gives meaning to every action.

Likewise, mindful eating involves using mindfulness to reach a state of full attention to the experiences, cravings and physical cues when eating. Basically, it involves:

  • Eating slowly and without distraction.
  • Listening to hunger cues and eating only until one is full.
  • Distinguishing between actual hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating.
  • Engaging senses by noticing colors, smells, sounds, textures, and tastes.
  • Eating to maintain overall health and well-being.
  • Noticing the effects food has on feelings.
  • Learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food.
  • Appreciating food.

By practicing mindful eating, we can change our eating habits because we become more consciously aware of the things that we eat and put into our bodies and whether we are getting the proper nutrients from what we are eating.

The Benefits of Mindful Eating –

Helps digestion and absorption of nutrients – Mindful eating requires that we chew food more thoroughly, breaking it down into very small pieces so that it can be absorbed through incredibly small passages in the small intestine. This results in better digestion and consequently better absorption of nutrients.

Reduces weight – In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, when the participants chewed their food a little more than usual, their levels of gut hormones related to hunger and satiety also improved. Therefore, improving chewing activity can become a useful tool for combating obesity. People, who eat mindfully, tend to eat less because it helps them tune into their feelings of fullness.

In another study published in the Journal of Obesity, it was found that more chewing activity increased DIT (Diet‐induced thermogenesis) at least partially due to the postprandial splanchnic circulation. DIT is the increase in energy expenditure associated with the digestion, absorption, and storage of foods, accounting for approximately 10‐15% of the total daily energy expenditure. By taking a little extra time for chewing, one can theoretically burn about 2,000 extra calories each month. Thus it can also be proposed as a strategy for weight management.

The effect of chewing on the splanchnic circulation and the possible association between DIT and the splanchnic circulation remain to be validated further.

Helps avoid overeating – Mindfulness helps us manage our emotions better. It is a normal response for many to reach out for their comfort foods to eat as a coping strategy when they are emotionally upset. Mindfulness changes the way one thinks. Rather than reacting to food-related thoughts, which urge to eat emotionally, one respond to them positively thus avoiding overeating.

Helps tune into our bodies – Mindful eating requires us to be truly present with our thoughts, feelings, and emotions when we eat. We learn to pay attention to our body’s cues as well. By being in tune with the body, it's easier to register fullness, which can help prevent overeating that may result in digestive and other problems.

Prevents binge eating - Mindfulness helps connect the mind and the body. It slows us down for a moment so that we move from reacting to responding. Likewise, mindful eating changes our reaction towards eating into a response, thus helping us prevent binge eating.

Helps enjoy the taste of food – Our taste buds start to get tired after only a few bites. We keep eating if we’re not really enjoying the food as much. Mindful eating connects us with our inner gourmet, which can enjoy epicurean pleasures of our food.

Helps choose food wisely – Mindful eating also involves choosing our foods wisely both for satisfaction and health. It enhances our awareness as to what kind of food and how much of it is beneficial for our health. It helps us tune in mindfully to create a balance between our health needs and personal fondness for certain foods.

The Bottom Line –

Mindfulness helps us appreciate the present moment and flourish in it. It arms us with the ability to “be” in this moment as opposed to constantly feeling pressured to “do” in another one.

Food is an intimately personal thing; we savor some tastes and despise others. But the way we chew and eat our food impacts our overall consumption.

Our busy and hectic lifestyle has hardly left any room for mindful eating. We will have to acquiesce to mindful eating so as to derive its health-related and other benefits.

Mindful eating will change our perspective about eating. Instead of eating merely out of need, we will begin to relish eating more and be grateful for our ability to do so when we will reap its benefits.

References -

  • Improvement in chewing activity reduces energy intake in one meal and modulates plasma gut hormone concentrations in obese and lean young Chinese men
  • The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 94, Issue 3, 1 September 2011, Pages 709–716, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.111.015164
  • The number of chews and meal duration affect diet-induced thermogenesis and splanchnic circulation published Yuka Hamada, Hideaki Kashnima, Naoyuki Hayashi First: 03 Feb. 2014 https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.20715

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Dr Pran Rangan profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      2 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks Dana for your nice comments.

      It is good that you have started eating mindfully savoring every bite. Now there is growing evidence that mindful eating has many benefits.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      I use to wait until I was starving and literally gobble down my food never realizing I wasn't enjoying my meals just eating out of necessity. Now, I chew slowly and make small nourishing meal savoring every bite. My eating habits have changed and I enjoy more vegetables and fruits. I also drink more water which is something I use to hate.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)