My 4-month old pup, Belle, is learning about life. Patience … stay. Discipline … no. Pride in accomplishment … good girl! And I’m learning from her. Be playful. Listen to instructions. And always be happy when you get pats on the head.
We came home from her recent veterinarian visit with clear instructions. Give her extra calcium and vitamin D for her fast-growing puppy bones. And a capsule of omega-3-rich fish oil. (Just checked the label. Yep, it’s got a healthful dose of EPA and DHA — the active forms of omega 3 fats) to keep her coat bright and shiny.
Give her plenty of water. Set out her food at regular times. And don’t feed her too much, Dr. Tom stresses. (Obesity and type 2 diabetes are major problems for dogs.)
Gee, why does this sound familiar? Turns out some of these strategies work well for the long term health of us humans, too.
A recent study that involved almost 60,000 Japanese men and women with type 2 diabetes looked at their responses to questions about eating habits to see how eating styles might impact their risk for obesity. There is a high probability, say these researchers, that the following habits help us control our waistlines.
Eat slowly. Over a five-year period, people in this study who reported being “slow” eaters were less likely to be overweight compared to those who reported eating “fast” or “normal.” And those who reported eating “fast” were more likely to be overweight than those who ate “slow” or “normal.”
We kind of know this already. When we take time to chew our food well (at least 20 minutes to eat a meal) we give our stomachs time to feel the sensation of “I’m not hungry anymore. You can stop eating now.”
What’s interesting about this study is that — over five years — about half the people did begin to eat slower. And this change correlated highly to a drop in waistline measurements and BMI, meaning these folks lost weight. More specifically, these researchers reported that fast eaters who adopted a normal eating speed decreased their risk for obesity by 29 percent. Becoming slow eaters reduced the risk for obesity by 42 percent. (Perhaps not surprising, in this study, women were more likely to be slow eaters than men.)
Eat dinner at least two hours before you go to bed. This isn’t the only study to suggest that late night eating tends to expand our waistlines. Other research suggests that closing the kitchen earlier can lower our risk for many health issues — spare tire around the waist, abnormal cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure — that can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Say no to snacks after dinner. If we want to keep our puppy figures, this one’s important, too, say researchers.
Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator affiliated with Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in California. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email her at to firstname.lastname@example.org.