Eating, Fast Eating & Weight Gain

Nov 16, 2023

One of our clients recently reached out with the question, "How fast does foot add weight?"

This is a bit of a complicated question. You've probably heard that scarfing down food too quickly can lead to overeating and weight gain over time. But how rapidly do extra calories from fast eating actually get stored as fat and impact the number on the scale? Here’s a look at the science behind how quickly poor eating habits catch up with your waistline.

The Pitfalls of Fast Eating

Bolting down meals deregulates signals between your brain and stomach that make you feel full. It takes around 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is satisfied. When you eat too fast, you override that fullness window and end up consuming far more calories than needed.

Those excess calories have to go somewhere - and your body is primed to store them efficiently as fat through a process called lipogenesis. The abdominal region is particularly prone to packing on fat, because visceral belly fat is metabolically active and releases hormones that drive fat storage.

Turning Excess Calories Into Body Fat

The calories you eat in a single meal or day won’t immediately translate into fat or impact the number on the scale. Your body is continually burning and storing calories. But research shows a surplus of around 3,500 calories ultimately gets stored as one pound of fat.

So if you regularly eat just 100 excess calories per day through speed eating, it would lead to about a 10 pound weight gain over the course of a year. Those extra calories start getting processed into fat within 48 hours after eating them. While you won’t see a big jump on the scale overnight, consistently overeating does equate to creeping weight gain over weeks and months.

For example, if you indulge in a meal with 1,750 calories over your needs, your body begins converting those excess calories to fat in a matter of days. But the storage occurs gradually, so you wouldn’t expect to pack on a half pound in one day. It’s the habit of regularly speed eating and overconsuming that adds pounds over time.

Winning the Battle

The takeaway is that fast eating sets you up for overconsumption and gradual waistline expansion. To get back on track:

  • Slow down and savor meals
  • Recognize your body’s fullness signals
  • Consult a nutrition coach if needed

With mindful, moderate eating habits, you can keep calories in check and avoid continually gaining weight around your middle.