Eating food slowly and fully is advice most of us have heard while growing up. It is adults though that should be paying heed to this advice with new research showing that the advice is true: eating slowly can help to reduce over-eating.
The advice seems credible: eat slowly so that you have a chance to feel full before you overeat. When the theory is tested in a laboratory, studies give mixed results with eating slowly not always meaning eating less.
Giving more validity to the advice, a new study looked at how the number of chews of a standard meal could influence the amount of food eaten in volunteers with a range of body weights.
After determining the normal number of chews for a mouthful of food for 45 volunteers, each person attended a food laboratory and ate a standard pizza meal for lunch until feeling comfortably full. What was different at each food eating session, was the number of chews each person was asked to perform. This was either at their normal rate, 50 percent above this or double.
Compared to how much food was eaten under normal chewing conditions, about 10 percent less food was eaten when 50 percent more chews were done. At double the number of chews per mouthful, 15 percent less food was eaten.
Whether someone was of a normal weight, overweight, or obese, did not appear to influence the benefit of chewing more on the amount of food eaten.
Even with less food eaten with more chewing, subjective feelings of appetite at the end of the meal and in the period after was not different under any of the chewing conditions.
Eating slowly is easier said than done. But one way to achieve this is to put your cutlery down between each bite. Better yet, eating food with chopsticks. Keep your mind on your teeth and jaw and get them working together to really chew each mouthful fully.