5 reasons why you should eat with your hands

Published: February 18, 2015
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

Numerous Pakistanis eat with their hands. However, as we adopt more traditions of the western world, it is common to see people using spoons and forks to eat all the time. A lot of people, though, do not know that eating with the hands has a number of surprising health benefits. As compiled by theprimalist.com, Daily Mail and usnews.com, discover the reasons why you should ditch cutlery today.

1) Helps prevent type 2 diabetes

A new study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition found that people with type 2 diabetes were more likely to be fast eaters that used cutlery to eat, as compared to people without the condition. Eating with forks and spoons correlates with faster eating, which has been linked to blood-sugar imbalances in the body — contributing to the development of type 2 diabetes. If you suspect that you may be eating too quickly, ditch utensils and focus on your eating style — consciously slow it down and see how you feel. You may be surprised by how soon you get full with less food if you eat with your hands.

2) Improved digestion

We have some bacteria, known as normal flora, found on the palm and fingers of the hand. It is not harmful to humans, it in fact protects us from many damaging microbes in the environment. When you eat with your hands, the flora in the fingers is swallowed. It is beneficial for health and for various body parts such as the mouth, throat, and intestine, and it promotes healthy digestion in the gut. Handling food with your fingers releases digestive juices and enzymes. Also, millions of nerve endings in your fingers relay the message that you’re about to eat, including the temperature of the food, level of spiciness and texture of food, thereby prepping the stomach for digestion.

3) Useful tool in preventing binge eating

Binge eating is becoming a concern with more adults, but it can also occur in childhood. Binge eating seems to be related to the vicious cycle of restrictive dieting followed by a loss of control around food, and it contributes to further health problems. A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology showed that families who ate by hand were more in touch with eating concepts, such as eating only when hungry and paying attention to fullness cues. The study found that parents were able to help their 8 to 12-year-old overweight children cut down on binge eating episodes by training them to eat by hand.

4) It can help decrease overeating at restaurants

People worldwide spend about 40% of their food budget on dining out. These meals tend to be higher in overall calories, raising concern that this practice is increasing our national waistline. While many health professionals advise people to try and cook more at home, one study showed that watchful eating at restaurants might help. The researchers found that middle-aged women who ate out and used their hands to pick on appetizers and dry food entrées at least three times a week were heedful while eating. This approach helped them reduce acid influx issues while still enjoying restaurant meals minus the feeling of heaviness.

5) Sure-fire way to stay lean.

Researchers studied over 1,600 middle-aged women in New Zealand found that those women who ate in response to hunger were more likely to be at a healthy weight than women who paid no mind to hunger cues when they ate. Many people multi-task while eating lunch, but two studies published in the journal Appetite found that when people ate by hand while simultaneously reading a newspaper or watching TV, they were less hungry at snack-time, and opted for a smaller snack. Researchers concluded that eating by hand promotes a sense of fullness and satiety as compared to eating with utensils.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Saad
    Feb 18, 2015 - 3:56PM

    And thanks to all those who hardly wash their hands, say hello to diarrhea and numerous diseases. I don’t see how it’s healthy. Recommend

  • Beenish
    Feb 18, 2015 - 4:17PM

    And above all its sunnah & as long as hand hygiene is concerned we ought to wash them prior to having our food anyways !Recommend

  • Ammar Ahmed
    Feb 18, 2015 - 5:16PM

    It seems like all of the points revolved around one point of eating slowly which lead to lower blood sugar level and in turn lead to eating less due to high fulfillment in stomach which may lead to better digestion blah blah .. End of the story, eat slowly with spoons and forks and remove the risk of in taking a lot of unwanted microbes in your body! Recommend

  • Parvez
    Feb 18, 2015 - 5:28PM

    So then who invented the knife, fork and spoon and why………not to say anything about chopsticks which I presume grew out a culture that goes way, way back.Recommend

  • Context is important eh.
    Feb 18, 2015 - 11:43PM

    Except in this country, we actually eat most of our food by hand (roti) and that causes us to eat an excessive amount of carbs (literally every bite is rolled in empty carbs) and too little vegetable and protein. People here would be better off if they ate their daal, sabzi with a fork, so that they take it easy on the roti. (Excluding people who do physical labour of course).Recommend

  • Oh no!
    Feb 19, 2015 - 6:00AM

    @Saad: Oh Please! That was talking about the bacteria after you wash your hands. Human can never wash their hands off-of all bacteria. Washing hands is must for healthy habits. Of Course there are lethal diseases in dirty hands. But bacteria from others keep your immune system strong from fighting them off. Doctors are recommending against using anti-bacterial soaps specially by kids who need strong immune system.Recommend

  • Sara
    Feb 19, 2015 - 6:37AM

    The is awkward given the fact that we are more prone to obesity, lower life expectancy and hepatitis-A. And what is more disturbing is that we seldom use forks during any meal during the day.
    Guide me pls.Recommend

  • Hassan
    Feb 19, 2015 - 1:22PM

    @Saad:
    Who stops them from washing hands?Recommend

  • Hassan
    Feb 19, 2015 - 1:23PM

    @Saad:
    People who use spoons, do they use them without washing them first? and if they do that how is it different from people who do not wash their hands?Recommend

  • Ali Shah
    Feb 19, 2015 - 3:10PM

    Jesus! What a false article, just because three news papers publish the same story does not give it scientific creditability. You cite no peer reviewed journal, and no I am not talking about open source. Stop using the banner of pseudoscience to pass if off as news. Recommend

  • Awais Bin Shahid
    Feb 19, 2015 - 3:22PM

    Provide the reference of this research….
    Cite the link of journal in which research in published….Recommend

  • Awais Bin Shahid
    Feb 19, 2015 - 3:23PM

    Provide citation/Reference link. Recommend

  • Muzammil
    Feb 19, 2015 - 11:29PM

    @Saad:
    Get yourself checked !Recommend

  • Anon
    Feb 20, 2015 - 10:50AM

    @Ammar Ahmed: Because spoons and forks can’t carry germs?Recommend

  • hania
    Feb 22, 2015 - 1:16PM

    can anyone tell me how can I share my food blospost at express tribune. I cant find any way to submit my work.. or is there any other way to be selected for published blogs or articles… please helpRecommend

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