Aims/hypothesis: Medical nutrition therapy plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, appropriate measures of eating behaviours, such as eating rate, have not yet been clearly established. The aim of the present study was to examine the associations among eating rate, obesity and cardiovascular risk factors.
Methods: A total of 7,275 Japanese individuals aged ≥40 years who had normal fasting glucose levels, impaired fasting glucose or diabetes were divided into four groups according to self-reported eating rate: slow, medium, relatively fast and very fast. The associations between eating rate and various cardiovascular risk factors were investigated cross-sectionally.
Results: The proportions of participants who were obese or who had elevated waist circumference levels increased progressively with increases in eating rate (p for trend <0.001), regardless of glucose tolerance status. These associations remained significant after adjustment for potential confounders, namely, age, sex, total energy intake, dietary fibre intake, current smoking, current drinking and regular exercise (p for trend <0.001). Blood pressure and lipid levels also tended to increase in association with eating rate. HbA(1c) rose significantly as eating rate increased, even after multivariate adjustment, including BMI, in diabetic patients on insulin therapy (p = 0.02), whereas fasting plasma glucose did not increase significantly.
Conclusions/interpretation: Our findings suggest that eating rate is associated with obesity and other cardiovascular risk factors and therefore may be a modifiable risk factor in the management of cardiovascular risk factors and diabetes.