But does this really help reduce overeating?
This question is addressed in a randomised controlled cross-over study by Yong Zhu and James Hollis from the University of Iowa published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The study was conducted in fourty-five 18- to 45-year-old normal-weight, overweight, and obese participants, who were asked to attend three test sessions to eat pizza for lunch until comfortably full by chewing each portion of food either 100%, 150%, or 200% of their baseline number of chews before swallowing.
Food intake in the sessions with 150% and 200% of their baseline number of chews was reduced significantly, by 9.5% and 14.8%, respectively, compared with the 100% session.
As one might expect, increasing the number of chews also prolonged meal duration and reduced eating rate while subjective appetite at meal termination or during the immediate postprandial period did not differ.
These data are certainly compatible with the hypothesis that increasing the number of chews per bite might reduce food intake and may thus assist in body-weight management.
Obviously, whether not increased chewing of each bite will actually assist in sustainable weight loss is another question – in fact, one that still needs to be answered.
Nevertheless, eating slowly while chewing and savouring every bite certainly seems a promising strategy to reduce overeating and feel full with less.
If you have experimented with chewing more to better manage your weight, I’d like to hear about it.
Thunder Bay, ON
Zhu Y, & Hollis JH (2013). Increasing the Number of Chews before Swallowing Reduces Meal Size in Normal-Weight, Overweight, and Obese Adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics PMID: 24215801