Facebook Pixel

"Mindful Eating" Takes Just 20 Minutes

Rate This
Diet & Nutrition related image Photo: Getty Images

A concept called “mindful eating,” based on the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, might get you to think differently about the digestive process and about slowing down during meals, with benefits that could include better overall digestion, weight maintenance and, if needed, weight loss.

Dr. Jean Kristeller, a psychology professor at Indiana State University, is well-known for her studies into mindful eating, especially in regard to helping binge eaters. According to an October 8, 2010 news release from ISU, the principles of mindful eating include: an awareness of each bite of food, learning to savor the experience of eating, and being aware of hunger and satiety cues. Also, mindful eating ideally means allowing 20 minutes for a complete meal. In the normal digestive process that gives the brain time to realize that the stomach is full.

“The mind-gut connection” is a familiar phrase to researchers. The July 6, 2011 HEALTHbeat newsletter from the Harvard Medical School explains that “digestion involves a complex series of hormonal signals between the gut and the nervous system, and it seems to take about 20 minutes for the brain to register satiety (fullness).” Not only that, but eating too fast or eating while distracted affects the digestive process and could mean that your body isn’t absorbing all the nutrients that it should.

Understanding the mind-gut connection and using mindful eating strategies could help those with a tendency to overeat or who struggle with eating disorders. The National Institutes of Health recently funded a study led by Kristeller from ISU and colleagues from Duke University. It involved 150 binge eaters and compared mindful eating strategies with standard psychoeducational treatment. Both treatments worked to control binge eating, but the group learning mindful eating (and incorporating meditation as well) reported less anxiety about their eating rituals.

Want to try mindful eating?

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Diet & Nutrition

Get Email Updates

Diet & Nutrition Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!