Friday, 28 February 2014

Want to lose weight? Try Chopsticks

To master eating with chopsticks was one my life's small goals since college. Before that I had never given them much of a thought. I had once had the experience of eating with chopsticks at a Thai colleague's wedding reception and it doesn't feature in my most memorable experiences' list. Recently, I started using them just because they appeared from somewhere in my rented accomodation. After a few times of fumbling with them and watching a few youtube videos about the right technique to hold them, I finally got the knack. But while using them, I realized that I was eating way too less and taking way too much time to do so which also brought about the revelation that that just might be the reason behind the slender figures of our south east Asian counterparts, specially the Chinese and Japanese.

The Science...
Ironically, there was no science behind chopsticks when they were first used in China some 5000 years ago. But a book by Kimiko Barber in 2009 postulates that the slim physique of the orient may be attributed to the use of chopsticks. The simple logic is that hunger and digestion are governed by an intricate system of chemicals secreted by the hypothalamus that send out signals to the body.  Once you start eating, it will take about 20 minutes for the mind to send out a signal to stop eating. So if you eat slowly for some 15-20 minutes and eat comparatively small morsels (how much can you hold with chopsticks???), you are bound to eat only what you need and stay healthy and that's exactly what chopsticks facilitate. Gorging on food is a complete no-no if you want to achieve your weight loss goals.

Secondly, many people from around the world are turning to chopsticks and ditching conventional cutlery. There are number of etiquettes and taboos that go together with chopsticks and remembering all of them in an effort to respect the oriental cultures, takes a lot of concentration, practice and calculation on the part of a non-regular user. Performing the daunting task of getting food safely into the mouth from the bowl is also included in those 15-20 minutes which is ample time for the brain to send out fullness signals.

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