Clean Plate

Do You Eat Fast Like an American or Slow Like a French Person?

In 2009, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released its “Society at a Glance” report, which included data on a variety of social issues, including how much time people of various OECD nations spend eating and drinking each day. Unsurprisingly, it found that Americans are some of the fastest eaters of the countries studied, and the French are some of the slowest .

I was actually surprised to see that no one on this graph spends three hours a day eating, or one hour per meal.

New York Times Economix blogger Catherine Rampell took this information and measured it against each country’s obesity rate to see if there was a possible correlation and found that, in fact, there does appear to be , though she reminds us that correlation does not necessarily equal causation. However, it has been widely reported that eating quickly increases the risk of becoming obese .

When I started the Clean Plate project four weeks ago, I knew I ate too fast even by American standards. During Week 3, when I was trying to slow down, I stretched out my combined eating time to about 50 minutes on the third and fourth days. But on most days I ate all of my meals and snacks in under 40 minutes combined , twice as fast as Americans eat on average.

Where do you fit in? Do you eat fast and have a hard time slowing down? Or do you eat slowly and always end up being the last to finish? How much time do you think you spend eating each day?