Want to lose weight but having a tough time controlling your appetite? For your next meal, try slowing down the speed of your eating, taking breaks in between to finish your meal, rather than devouring a sandwich in one sitting. A recent study measured levels of various hormones that affect appetite in humans and found that when people consume meals with many interruptions, the appetite was much better controlled. Those who took their time finishing their meals ended up eating less foods overall and therefore taking in less total calories.

Many hormones regulate our food intake. Some hormones reduce appetite, while the hormone ghrelin helps increase appetite, in case of someone fasting, for example.  By measuring the levels of these hormones at a given time, you can assess a person’s hunger level.

In today’s world, we tend to place importance on being fast, in a rush to see what we can accomplish quickly; and eating is no exception. After all, the fast food industry continues to be one of the fastest growing markets worldwide. Instead, think of how a five-course dinner would be served at a typical five-star restaurant. As each course is served, patrons are encouraged to take their time, savor the foods, enjoy conversations, not rushed. The same idea can be applied to how we all eat on a daily basis. This food savoring is a key part of the heart healthy Mediterranean diet.

If you are having a sandwich and fruit for lunch, for example, first eat half of the sandwich and put the other half away along with the fruit for a little while later. You will probably find that by taking breaks in between your mini-meals, you are not as hungry anymore and do not feel the need to finish the entire meal at once. Listen to your gut. Make this your new habit of eating and see for yourself!