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The secret to eating less

Teresa Tanoos's picture
Researchers say chew more to eat less.

This 'secret' way to eat less doesn't involve any products whatsoever, which may be why you don't read enough about it.


The holidays are known as a time for gaining weight, but there is a secret to eating less – and best of all, it works year round.

The secret, according to a new study published recently in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is to simply chew your food longer.

Researchers for the study found that when people increased the amount of times they chewed on food prior to swallowing it, they ended up eating less during the course of their meal.

Although researchers have long known that people who eat slower are generally thinner than their fast-eating counterparts, it was unclear whether increasing the number of times people chewed their food would result in them eating less.

Accordingly, they launched a study to find out, asking a group of 47 participants to eat 5 portions of Totino’s pizza rolls while counting how many times they chewed each pizza roll.

Among the participants were 16 who were normal weight, another 16 who were overweight, and 15 who were obese. None of them were told the reason for the study or why they were to count the number of times they chewed each roll.

The results of the study showed that the participants who took the time to chew their food really well before swallowing, ate less of the food consumed at their meal. This was true for all of the participants, regardless of whether they were normal weight, overweight or obese.

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These findings further support the benefits of taking time to eat your meal, chewing your food thoroughly while enjoying every morsel as you revel in the variety of different flavors and textures consumed over the course of a meal.

Similarly, another recent study found that families who eat together tend to stay slimmer because eating with others promotes more conversation, which in turn slows down the rate of eating.

In this latest study, the researchers found that when participants increased the number of times they chewed their food by 50 percent, they ate 10 percent less of their food on average, or the equivalent of 70 less calories.

When the participants doubled the number of times they chewed their food, they ate an average of 15 percent less food – or 112 fewer calories per meal.

When you consider that most people eat, on average, a total of 3 meals per day, doubling the amount you chew each meal could result in a significantly fewer calories consumed each day, which could lead to a considerable amount of weight lost over a period of months – just by chewing your food more.

Throw in some regular exercise, and you’re on your way to implementing a few healthy lifestyle changes that could result in long-term weight loss and improved overall health.

Keep in mind that it takes about 20 minutes for the food you eat to reach your brain and tell you when you’re full, so slow down to really enjoy your food, chewing each bite as if it were your last, as you concentrate on increasing the number of times you chew each morsel before swallowing.

The extra chewing will not only reduce how much you eat, but it will give your brain time to process the food so your stomach knows it’s full.

Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
1. “Increasing the Number of Chews before Swallowing Reduces Meal Size in Normal-Weight, Overweight, and Obese Adults”, Yong Zhu, James H. Hollis, November 10, 2013 (10.1016/j.jand.2013.08.020)
2. “Examining the Utility of a Bite-Count–Based Measure of Eating Activity in Free-Living Human Beings”, November 14, 2013 (10.1016/j.jand.2013.09.017).