Chew Your way to Weight Loss

What if you could loose weight by simply changing how you eat, rather than what you eat? A small, but interesting study from China recently posed that question by comparing the effects of chewing on calorie consumption and hormone production. In this study, 16 normal weight young men and 14 obese young men were observed for their chewing habits. It was found that the obese group had a lower average number of chews per bite as compared to the moderate weight group. Both groups took similar size bites, but the obese group averaged 15 chews per bite, versus 40 chews per bite in the normal weight group. It was found that the number of chews correlated inversely to the amount of food consumed. The group that averaged 40 chews ingested almost 12% less food than the group that averaged 15 chews. The greater number of chews also resulted in lower postpradandial ghrelin concentration (a hormone that stimulates appetite) and higher postprandial glucagon-like peptide 1 (the satiety signal) and cholecystokinin concentrations (a hormone that lowers appetite).

This study verifies the common sense wisdom that chewing food completely, thus eating slower and more thoughtfully, results in lower consumption of calories. Yet many questions still remain: Are thinner people naturally programmed to chew their food longer? Can an overweight person lose pounds by changing their eating habits and chewing thoroughly? We may not have definitive answers to these questions, but out of all the weight loss tips you can experiment with, this one may be the easiest you can try!    

Am J Clin Nutr September 2011 vol. 94 no. 3 709-716


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