width=192Sometimes, often times in fact, there's truth behind an old wives' tale.

Take the idea that eating slowly can aid weight loss. We've all heard the advice, and now here's the science.

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endrocrinology and Metabolism discovered that when participants ate an ice cream over the course of 30 minutes, they had higher levels of gut hormones that trigger satiety, than those who ate the ice cream in 5 minutes.

It's not a new idea, but this is the first study of it's kind to measure hormonal activity in the gut. From the New York Times:

In a study last month, scientists found that when a group of subjects were given an identical serving of ice cream on different occasions, they released more hormones that made them feel full when they ate it in 30 minutes instead of 5 . The scientists took blood samples and measured insulin and gut hormones before, during and after eating. They found that two hormones that signal feelings of satiety, or fullness -- glucagon-like peptide-1 and peptide YY -- showed a more pronounced response in the slow condition.

So now we know it works, and we know why it works.

Here's how to put it into practice:

  • Eat mindfully. Sit at a table, not on your couch, and never in front of the TV or in your car. Note how long it takes you to finish a meal.
  • Set your fork down between each bite while you savor your food and swallow. Enjoy some dinner conversation, then have another bite. Better yet, try eating with chopsticks!
  • Practice a slower pace at meal time. So often we're pressed into hurrying through meals by other responsibilities. Schedule meals so that you have time to relax and enjoy your food.
  • Stop half way through your meal, drink some water, and as yourself, Am I full?
  • Change the way you look at meals and mealtime. Spend time creating healthy meals with a variety of tastes and textures.

Just like changing any other habit, learning to slow down at meal times takes practice and hard work.

Treating mealtime as a time to recharge and nourish your body will not only repair an unhealthy relationship with food, But, giving those hormones in your gut a chance to catch up will reduce the number of calories eaten at each sitting.