Chewing More Could Mean Eating Less

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Chewing food more was shown to reduce total food intake in a group of normal weight and overweight people

November 14, 2013 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

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(dailyRx News) When midday hunger hits and it's time to eat, you might not be thinking about how much you chew your food. But by doing so, you could end up eating less.

A recent study found a significant decrease in the amount of food eaten when people chewed their food more.

The authors of this study noted that chewing more may be one way to reduce food intake and potentially help with weight management.

"Chew your food more before swallowing."

This study was led by James H. Hollis, PhD, of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University. The research team examined whether increasing the number of chews before swallowing food affected meal size in normal weight, overweight and obese people.

Dr. Hollis and colleagues analyzed data from 45 people between the ages of 18 and 45 in Ames, Iowa.

People were excluded from this study if they had previously used or were currently using tobacco products, were underweight, had a history of gastrointestinal disease, were on medication that altered appetite, were dieting or restricting calories, were allergic to the test foods or were pregnant or lactating.

At the beginning of the study, participants were given five servings of Tostino’s pizza rolls and asked to report how many times they chewed their food before swallowing. A researcher sat with each participant to confirm this number.

After this assessment, participants attended three test sessions during their usual lunch time. Each test session was seven days apart.

On each test day, participants were asked to eat their usual breakfast and to avoid alcohol or strenuous exercise for 24 hours before the test session. They were also told not to eat or drink any food after breakfast, with the exception of water, until the test session began.

During the test session, each participant was given 60 Tostino’s pizza rolls. They were told how many times they had to chew before swallowing. Some participants were told to chew their food the same number of times that they chewed at the beginning of the study, some were told to increase their number of chews by 50 percent and some were told to double their number of chews.

Food intake, meal duration, average eating rate and appetite ratings were recorded at the end of every meal for all test sessions.

The researchers found that participants who increased their number of chews by 50 percent ate 9.5 percent less than participants who were told to chew their food the same number of times.

Participants who doubled their number of chews decreased their food intake by about 15 percent compared to those who were told to chew their food the same number of times.

The researchers also found that increasing the number of chews increased meal duration and reduced eating rate.

The researchers did not find a significant difference, however, in appetite ratings between the groups.

The authors of this study noted that normal weight participants had a slower eating rate than overweight and obese participants, which supports previous research. They concluded that more studies are needed to determine the long-term effects of increased chewing on body weight.

This study was published on November 9 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The study authors reported no competing interests.

Review Date: 
November 15, 2013
Last Updated:
November 14, 2013