Although reducing eating rate is frequently advocated for control of food intake and thus body weight, empirical evidence is extremely limited and inconsistent. We sought to compare the impact of slow and quick eating rates on development of satiation in healthy women. In a randomized design, 30 healthy women (22.9+/-7.1 years; body mass index [calculated as kg/m(2)] 22.1+/-2.9) were studied on two test visits to compare slow and quick eating rates. Satiation was examined as the main outcome, using the objective measure of energy intake during ad libitum meals. At designated times, subjects also rated perceived hunger, satiety, desire to eat, thirst and meal palatability on visual analogue scales. Slow rates of ingestion led to significant decreases in energy intake (quick: 645.7+/-155.9 kcal; slow: 579.0+/-154.7 kcal; P<0.05) and significant increases in water consumption (quick: 289.9+/-155.1 g; slow: 409.6+/-205.8 g; P<0.05). Despite higher energy intake upon meal completion under the quick condition, satiety was significantly lower than the slow condition (P<0.05). Accordingly, the quick condition showed a lower Satiating Efficiency Index (quick: 0.1; slow: 0.2; P<0.05). After meal completion, pleasantness ratings tended to be higher under the slow condition (P=0.04; but not significant after Bonferroni adjustment). Ad libitum energy intake was lower when the meal was eaten slowly, and satiety was higher at meal completion. Although more study is needed, these data suggest that eating slowly may help to maximize satiation and reduce energy intake within meals.