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Eating is a time to slow down, join friends and family, and savor the time enjoying the flavorful food that’s been prepared.
Eating is a time to slow down, join friends and family, and savor the time enjoying the flavorful food that’s been prepared.

Health, Dr. Mao, Santa Monica

It’s Not Just What You Eat – It’s How You Eat, Too

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Posted Jun. 8, 2014, 8:55 am

Dr. Mao Shing Ni / Mirror Columnist

We’re a nation of multitasking, at-the-desk eaters, TV eaters, over-the-sink eaters, skipping-breakfast eaters, and the biggest one of all – fast eaters. With so much focus on “saving” time, it’s no surprise that one of our biggest contributions to the world is fast food.

In this country there is so much information, some of it contradictory, about what foods are good and bad for various reasons. But comparatively little attention is brought to how we eat.

Eating is a time to slow down, join friends and family, and savor the time enjoying the flavorful food that’s been prepared.

Even in previous decades in this country, families were more apt to sit down together at the table. Fast eating and mindless eating could be the single most contributing factor to our growing rate of diabetes and obesity.

Eat less

A lot of research has been done about quantities of food being consumed. They have generally concluded that we can live healthier, longer lives if we eat less than we are accustomed to.

I found the most telling evidence after analyzing the diets of about a hundred centenarians: the one thing they had in common is that they ate less than the average person. They generally followed the “three-quarters” rule: they stop eating when they are three quarters full. And in order to determine how full you are, you can’t eat fast.

Don’t forget to chew

One way you can be kinder to your insides is to stop gulping down food. Each time you take a bite of food, chew it approximately 30 times before swallowing.

When you do this, your food is predigested in your mouth by the enzyme ptyalin, found in your saliva.

As a result, your stomach doesn’t have to work as hard and absorption of important vitamins and nutrients occurs more readily.

As I tell my patients, your stomach doesn’t have teeth!

It breaks down food with nothing more than gastric juice and acid. Eating too quickly also contributes to an increased production of acid, resulting the common problem of heartburn.

Another benefit of chewing thoroughly is that you will feel full after eating less food, which can help keep your weight down.

Bonus Tip: If you are looking to absorb more nutrients from your food, our formula Abundant Energy can help stimulate digestion and get the most from your food.

Smaller meals, more frequently

Eating three good-sized meals a day is a cultural habit, not a biological need. Consuming four to five smaller sized meals is less taxing on your digestive system and delivers a steady steam of nutrients, blood sugar, and energy throughout the day.

It also prevents overloading and excess waste accumulation. Dividing caloric intake in this way can also reduce your risk of heart disease.

Breakfast is champion

We’ve all heard it before: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Because of the human body’s circadian rhythm, the same foods eaten at breakfast or lunch are processed differently than when they’re eaten at dinner.

Research shows that what when you eat your daily protein and fat at breakfast you tend to lose weight and have more energy.

On the other hand, eating the same things at dinner produces tendencies toward weight gain, increased blood pressure and heart disease.

In one study, researchers compared weight loss in women who ate either two eggs or a bagel for breakfast.

The two breakfast meals were identical in calories and volume. Compared to the bagel eaters, overweight women who ate two eggs for breakfast five times a week for eight weeks as part of a low-fat, reduced calorie diet, lost 65 percent more weight and reported higher energy levels.

The fact is, skipping breakfast can contribute to risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. So make time for breakfast and live a healthier, longer life.

Be thankful for what you eat

Saying grace before a meal isn’t just a ritual related to religion.

It’s being mindful about food and nourishment. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Take a moment to appreciate all the ways we enjoy and thrive from our food, as well as the life that both plant and animal gave so that we can live well, live long, and live happy.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit

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