By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 2:33 AM on 05th November 2009
Wolfing down your dinner won't just give you indigestion - it could also pile on the pounds.
A study has shown that people who bolt down their food are more likely to overeat than those who dine at a more leisurely rate.
Scientists believe eating quickly stops the release of a hormone that tells the brain when the stomach is full.
Slow down: People who bolt their food quickly are more likely to overeat, according to a new study
The finding supports the old wives' tale that people should chew their food at least 20 times before swallowing.
Professor Stephen Bloom, of Imperial College, London, who worked on the study, said the findings meant that the trend for busy office workers to snatch meals at their desk rather than taking time to eat properly could be contributing to the obesity epidemic.
'Speed-eating, eating at work or when you're doing spreadsheets on the screen so that you keep stuffing food into your face are likely to increase the risk of obesity,' he said.
'There is no doubt that if you eat more slowly, which is perfectly controllable, you are more likely to be able to slim.'
The Greek-led study, to be published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, compared blood samples from diners eating a 300ml serving of ice cream at different speeds.
They measured levels of hormones that signal to the brain that the stomach is full and it's time to stop eating.
Those who took the full 30 minutes to eat the ice cream had higher levels of the hormones in their blood and described themselves as feeling fuller than those who rushed.
Past studies have shown there is a time lag between eating and the sensation of feeling full.