“Chewing Longer for Better Digestion – Debunking Myths and Revealing Facts”

by time news

2023-05-30 12:36:00

1. Chewing longer is good for digestion – MYTH

“Be careful with such general statements,” warns Georgia Chatonidi. She is doing a PhD at KU Leuven and in her research into nutrition and health focuses specifically on the feeling of satiety, the way in which you consume food and metabolic reactions. It’s true that by chewing longer you do the work of the enzymes in your saliva makes it easier. Those enzymes break down the large molecules of nutrients into smaller pieces of glucose, which your body can then better absorb. If you chew for a long time, you produce more saliva, so that those pieces quickly become very small and your body absorbs the glucose faster. During the first half hour of food digestion, chewing thoroughly can slightly increase the amount of glucose and insulin absorbed. The influence of chewing behavior on the overall glucose regulation after food intake is very small in healthy subjects. The increase in insulin production in the early stages of digestion can be especially helpful for people with pre-diabetes. There is no scientific evidence that there is any effect on your general metabolism three or four hours after chewing. While enough chewing can contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle, as an incidental factor, it does not play any role in the digestive system for most people in isolation.”

2. Swallowing your food too fast can make you gain weight – FACT

“Simply explained: you gain weight when you consume more kilocalories than you burn. If you eat very quickly, but exercise enough, you will not gain weight. Eating slowly but sitting in your chair all day won’t help you lose weight. When you eat faster, you do get more calories than when you eat slowly. By taking the time to chew your food well and paying attention to the eating process, you will feel full faster and stop eating sooner.

Take fruits, for example. A glass of fruit juice contains the juice of about four oranges and drank you dry in a few seconds. Instead, if you peel an orange and eat the pieces like this, you’ll last longer and probably have enough after just one orange. It will also take longer before you want to eat something again. So you get fewer kilocalories.”

3. Insufficient chewing causes polluted, congested intestines and a disrupted immune system – MYTH

Georgia Chatonidi frowns. “That’s not right at all! Where did you get that? It is not harmful to your intestines not to chew for a very long time. Not really. As long as you don’t choke on your food, there is no danger to your health.”

4. Fast chewing leads to burps or flatulence – FACT AND FABLE

“Yes and no. Belching and flatulence are the result of gases in the stomach or intestine. They occur when you inhale air while eating. That can happen when you take big bites and swallow them quickly, but also when you talk while eating.”

5. You have to chew ten to twenty times before swallowing your food – MYTH

“There is no gold standard for how many times or how long you should chew,” the researcher explains. “How long you have to chew depends on two factors. The texture is the first factor. Is the food solid or liquid, hard or soft? You will chew longer on a steak than on a slice of bread. In addition, you also have to take into account a natural variability between groups and individuals. Older people often have weaker jaws and take longer to chew. Men have larger mouths, take bigger bites and eat faster. Yet one man will simply eat slower or faster than the other. That’s completely normal. When the texture of the food is fine enough, your natural instinct will make you swallow.”

Do you want to eat slower? Then researcher Georgia Chatonidi advises choosing food that you can chew longer and also using all your senses when consuming the food. “Look at the food, possibly feel it, smell it and consciously taste it. Experiencing those sensations for longer leads to you feeling full faster and eating less at your next meal. When you watch TV or read emails while you eat, your brain will forget the food faster and there will be less time between that moment and your next meal. Or you will eat more at the next meal. We see this, for example, in people with Alzheimer’s: when they no longer remember what they ate, they will want to eat again or eat more at the next meal, even if they are not hungry.”

This article originally appeared on HLN.be

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