Fact or Myth: Can Chewing Food More Lead to Lower Levels of the “Hunger Hormone”?

This is a FACT.

Believe it or not, the more times you chew each bite, the fewer calories you will consume. This bit of wisdom, that chewing food more, was recently confirmed by a Chinese study conducted at Harbin Medical University and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“Chewing less is a risk factor for obesity,” the scientists concluded, saying that chewing food more could be a valuable tool for weight loss. chewing foodThe researchers speculate that perhaps this is because more thorough chewing releases nutrients from food more efficiently.

The Chinese study involved 16 lean and 14 obese young men. Researchers put participants on a 12-hour fast, then invited them into the lab for a typical Chinese breakfast of pork pie. Every participant was given an equal portion and instructed that they could ask for more if they wished. While the men ate, a video camera recorded how many times each participant chewed each bite.

The scientists predicted that the obese subjects would chew fewer times per bite. When they reviewed the video recording, this theory was clearly confirmed. Both the lean and obese subjects took similar amounts of food in each bite, but in the end, the obese men chewed fewer times and consumed more calories.

The researchers continued by bringing all of the subjects back to the lab for additional pork pie breakfasts, always offering them as much as they wished to eat. However, they added one additional variable. On one day, the researchers instructed the men to chew each bite 15 times. On another day, they instructed them to chew 40 times.

Regardless of body weight, all subjects consumed about 12 percent fewer calories when they chewed 40 times per bite than when they chewed 15 times. They also had lower levels of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone” produced in the stomach.