The Grapevine

Can Chewing Food Slowly Lead To Weight Loss?

While catching up on  TV shows or browsing through social media, many consider eating a side task to be accomplished in order to fuel the body. Otherwise, binge-eating to quench hunger pangs simply results in overeating at a fast pace to satisfy raging appetites. There is no time to fully concentrate and take in the food, bit by bit and completely digest the food to satisfaction.

Chewing meals to the fullest, slowly, steadily and thoroughly might seem like a tiresome task. But eating this way has its string of benefits, and weight loss is predominantly one of them.  It also helps that nutrients are absorbed better, stress levels are reduced and digestion is improved.

In a study, a group of 45 adults were studied in a randomized clinical trial with people from a local community in Ames, a city in the state of Iowa. Normal weight, overweight and obese participants were invited to be part of the study. The researchers first did an assessment of baseline number of chews before swallowing. They were then asked to chew pizza during lunch at rates that were 100 percent, 150 percent and 200 percent above their established baseline.

For participants who chewed food at a higher rate of 150 percent and 200 percent, the food consumed was brought down by 9.5 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively, proving that chewing food slowly reduces food intake. 

In another study that was aimed at investigating the effect of chewing on hormonal balance and energy levels, it was found that 15 chews compared to 40 chews led to reduced energy levels and decreased ghrelin levels. Once you have digested your food, the hormone ghrelin is suppressed due to the brain receiving the signal that the stomach is full, thus reducing appetite, as well.

The study conducted by School of Public Health in Harbin Medical University, China, included 16 thin and 14 obese men. Ihe researchers noted that the slow process of chewing gives the brain an adequate amount of time to process the information that food has been consumed. Weight loss is triggered by chewing slowly since the brain receives signals comfortably while different parts of the body coordinate to quench hunger. 

It might seem strange to consciously chew more, but that’s the only way to do it. Count the number of times you chew food and you will know how little you chew. Just double that number and you can easily process food at a slower pace. Purposely choosing fibrous foods that need to be chewed and cannot be swallowed helps. Ultimately, its patience and mindful eating that will aid this process.

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