• Ayesha Fathima

Chew Wisely !

“Your mouth is your gateway to health” a fact that can never be denied. Chew is one important factor that is essential for the preceding events of digestion that follows, because it is the first step in the process.


The what and the how of chewing:

Chewing (in scientific terms called “ mastication” ) is a process of crushing and grinding food into a soft solid. It is usually said that chewing 32 times is always the best method to appropriately chew. But that doesn't apply all the time. Hard foods like meat may need even higher chew counts and softer foods like ripe fruits may need fewer counts. Usually chewing can be classified as vertical or rotary chewing. In vertical chewing pattern the food is crushing in between the jaws in an up and down pattern. In the later, the food is being moved by the circular motion of the smooth tongue muscle. This is the most common form of chewing noticed in individuals


The logic behind chew counts:

Chew Counting is now gaining importance as it has been studied extensively in relation to various aspects. Studies show potential benefits of slower chewing helping in weight loss. Logical speaking, chewing slowly is going to increase the meal time eventually increasing strain on your facial muscles due to prolonged duration , all this leads to reduced intake of food.

Fiber rich foods often top the grocery list in any weight watchers’ weekly plan. Due to the fibrous nature they take time to chew and also add bulk to the diet thus helping in portion control. Also chewing slowly is a part of mindful eating pattern.


What the researchers have to say?

A study compared the chewing patterns among lean and obese individuals and found that obese individuals had a lower number of chews per gram of food and higher swallowing rates. The study also concluded that chew counting would be a good tool to help people with obesity. (1)

A hormone called peptide YY that helps decrease appetite after meal was found to be higher after a 30 min meal hen compared to a 5 minute fast meal, similarly glucagon-like peptide-1 which also had appetite decreasing effects and delays gastric emptying. This study concluded that eating at a moderate pace causes marked difference in release of gut hormones than eating very fast. (3)


Bottom-line:

Go get some time to feed yourself in peace, chew your food and don’t gulp. After all the real taste of a meal is when you savour it!!!


References:

1. Jie Li, Na Zhang, Lizhen Hu, Ze Li, Rui Li, Cong Li, Shuran Wang, Improvement in chewing activity reduces energy intake in one meal and modulates plasma gut hormone concentrations in obese and lean young Chinese men–, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 94, Issue 3, September 2011, Pages 709–716, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.111.015164

2. Alexander Kokkinos, Carel W. le Roux, Kleopatra Alexiadou, Nicholas Tentolouris, Royce P. Vincent, Despoina Kyriaki, Despoina Perrea, Mohammad A. Ghatei, Stephen R. Bloom, Nicholas Katsilambros, Eating Slowly Increases the Postprandial Response of the Anorexigenic Gut Hormones, Peptide YY and Glucagon-Like Peptide-1, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 95, Issue 1, 1 January 2010, Pages 333–337, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2009-1018



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