I believe that the best way to work food eating would be to scale it based on the hunger points that item grants. The best scale, I think, would be 5 ticks per hunger point granted. This means that foods like Sweet Berries and Cookies would take 10 ticks, while foods like Steak or Pork Chops would take 40 ticks.
This should provide incentive to eat less filling foods, while also having the effect on combat that I think Jeb is going for - people won't break from combat to eat a piece of Steak and restore their health.
Note: I think golden apples should perhaps be 10 extra ticks, to a total of 30, since they are a common combat item, and changing the eating speed by too much would mess with peoples' reflexes and possibly jepoardize them in combat scenarios.
That's about all I have to suggest. Devs - please consider, fellow Minecrafters - upvote if you agree.
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