Would you believe there is something you can do at your next meal to help you eat less and improve your digestion? And best of all, it doesn’t require surgery, special food, or new recipes.
What is this new fangled weight control idea?
A study conducted at the School of Public Health at Harbin Medical University in China concluded that obese and lean subjects consumed 12 percent fewer calories when they chewed the food 40 times versus when they chewed it 15 times. The subjects who took 40 chews also produced less of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin and produced more of the appetite-suppressing hormone cholecystokinin.
So when I heard about this idea of chewing more to eat less I just had to bite. The possible benefits to chewing more helped me decide to revamp my own chewing style.
Chewing food 30-40 times can benefit you in the following ways:
Savor Your Food
I eat fast. Usually I am the first person at the table to finish “wolf down” a meal. Do I savor my food? I would have to say no. My mind seems to be racing about what I have to get done when I am finished eating. Like how fast can I clean up the kitchen? In theory, I think I would benefit from slowing down and since I prepared the food, I would like to savor it.
Feel Full with Less Food
Chewing more enables you to really taste and appreciate your food. It also gives your brain a chance to catch up with your stomach since it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to register satisfaction. The longer you stretch out the meal with chewing, the more likely your brain will alert you to feeling satisfied with less food.
Feel Better with Improved Digestion
This is a biggie for me.
Digestion actually begins in your mouth. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that begin the process of breaking down your food. So the more time the enzymes get to coat the food in your mouth (by chewing more), the better your digestion.
When you swallow after only a few chews and send down large pieces, it takes a lot more energy for the food to break down in your stomach. And many times, the stomach cannot finish the process and larger, undigested particles get sent to the intestines. Here, bacteria break down the larger pieces, fermenting and putrefying them. It is what it sounds like. This process causes gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, etc.
When you chew food 30-40 times you reduce the likelihood that large pieces will make it to the intestines to putrefy (yuk!).
Gain Better Nutrition
Breaking the food down into smaller pieces enables your body to absorb more nutrients. Absorbing more nutrients translates into having more energy and being healthier in general!
Most people probably chew about 10 times before swallowing. It seems the sweet spot for chewing to aid in weight loss and digestive improvement is 40 chews. The objective is to liquefy the food in your mouth.
Below are six bonus tips to accomplish slower eating and better digestion:
- Eat with chopsticks to take smaller bites.
- Put utensils down between bites.
- Don’t drink water with your meal as it may inhibit digestion by diluting saliva.
- Make breakfast the largest meal of the day because digestive energy is strongest in the morning.
- Make dinner the smallest meal of the day (like soup) because digestive energy is weakest in the evening.
- Don’t eat raw in the evening because digestion is weak and raw food is much harder to break down.
Dr. Harald Stossier from the famed Viva Clinic in Austria says,
It’s better to have a few bites of a gourmet hamburger at dinner than a late, large salad.
Are you going to try to chew each bite 40 times?