Losing weight could be as simple as not eating so fast, a new study has found.
Researchers looked at health insurance data collected over five years in Japan, covering nearly 60,000 people.
One of the questions clients were asked as a part of their health check-ups was how fast they ate - fast, normal or slow.
After taking into account other factors, the study found a strong link between eating slowly and a healthy weight.
Compared to fast eaters, people who ate at a normal rate were 29 percent less likely to be obese (a body-mass index of above 25, in this study). Slow eaters were 42 percent less likely.
"Changes in eating habits can affect obesity, [body-mass index], and waist circumference," the researchers concluded.
"Interventions aimed at reducing eating speed may be effective in preventing obesity and lowering the associated health risks."
They noted as an observational study, no conclusions could be drawn regarding cause-and-effect. Participants' activity levels were also not measured.
The study was published in online journal BMJ Open.