There is so much to be said on how we eat our food and we might not even realize it. Do we savour each bite? Do we chew slowly? Do we take small bites? Do we gobble up mouthfuls? You'll often hear parents telling their children not to scarf down their meals. There's even an old saying that says chewing your food 32 times will help you lose weight. But, in terms of bite size, chewing and swallowing, does it actually matter how you eat for your health?
How chewing became a movement.
The idea of chewing food slowly and many times to promote weight loss comes from a 1926 book on obesity by physician Leonard Williams. He said that the stomach needs the food to be “thoroughly disintegrated by the teeth” and “steeped in saliva” in order to work right.
And in recent decades the idea of chewing well is important in various dietary regimens, with specifications on a set number of chews per bite or mouthful.
This is what happens when you chew.
When you eat, you chew food into smaller particles and mix it with saliva in the mouth. Saliva starts the process of digestion and the breaking down of food. This continues in the stomach, where it is mixed with acid.
Chewing is the result of eating. During this step, your food is broken down into smaller pieces and is mixed with saliva, which begins the process of digestion, as well as the breakdown of food. In the stomach, it is mixed with acid. Those chewed-up particles then make their way to your gut. The nutrients and water get absorbed along the way, while the undigested bits of fibers and half-digested foods exit the body. By chewing well, the process is completed effectively.
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A good example of the process not being fulfilled is when we don't chew our peas and corn properly. We all know what happens, and it is the result of such items being resistant to acid in the stomach. Not digested? Less food intake! More weight loss. Right?
Not exactly. The brain is a powerful and sensitive organ. Enough time needs to be allotted during eating for it to understand that you have actually eaten. So if you've scarfed down your food, you might have eaten too much because you didn't have a feeling of fullness when you had actually had enough. Hence the importance of eating slowly for weight management.
In addition, the food needs gut contact, which stimulates the hormones in charge of regulating hunger. Researchers from The University of Birmingham backed up this idea, proving that prolonged chewing both reduces meal intakes as well as wards off snacking two hours after meal consumption.
And studies have found that obese persons often chew less and for a shorter amount of time than those with a normal weight.
The magic number isn't necessarily 32, however. The most important takeaway is that we need to savour our food for overall nutrition, digestion and to prevent overeating.
Do you feel as though you eat slowly and chew well?
Source: The Conversation