A new study finds that people who chew their food more take in fewer calories, which may help them control their weight.
Chewing food 40 times instead of a typical 15 times caused study participants to eat nearly 12 percent fewer calories, according to results published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Previous researches have explored the connection between obesity and chewing, with mixed results. Several studies have found eating faster and chewing less are associated with obesity, while others have found no such link.
In the current study, the team found a connection between the amount of chewing and levels of several hormones that "tell the brain when to begin to eat and when to stop eating," said co-author Shuran Wang in an email.
More chewing was associated with lower blood levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, as well as higher levels of CCK, a hormone believed to reduce appetite.
But since the typical diet includes foods that are not chewed – such as soup and ice cream – the actual amount of weight one is likely to lose by chewing more is much less, he cautioned.
Despite the study's limitations, the authors say the relationship between eating behaviors and obesity is worth studying further, to help slow a growing health problem worldwide.
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