01/03/2014 10:56 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 10:52 EST

How To Eat Less: Slowing Down Could Help Weight Loss

close-up of woman eating fresh salad

One way to eat less is to simply slow down, a new U.S. study suggests. Eating your meals more slowly may help you consume fewer calories while also feeling fuller longer afterwards.

Published online January 2 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the research looked at two groups of 30 people — one group of people were at a normal weight while the second group were overweight or obese.

In the study, both groups were given the same meal and told to eat it as if they had plenty of time, taking small bites and chewing well. On a separate occasion, they were given the same meal but told to eat it as if they were short on time, to take larger bites and swallow quickly. At both occasions, participants were told to eat as much of the given meal as they wanted.

The Texas Christian University researchers found that both groups ate less food and fewer calories when they slowed down, although the normal weight group ate fewer calories, around 88 fewer calories compared to 57 fewer calories for the overweight group. Both groups also reported feeling fuller for longer after eating slowly and were less tempted to snack an hour after eating.

While the study was small, WebMD reports that "there are some useful messages here for anyone struggling to keep to a healthy weight." They add: "It can be hard to find time to eat properly during a busy day, but snatching a sandwich and eating it quickly at your desk may not be the best way to keep your weight under control."

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