Yes, ladies and gentlemen. It’s not a hoax. It’s completely true. You can burn up to 2000 calories extra every month munching your food slowly. Okay for reference, 2000 calories are roughly equivalent to running for about two and a half hours at 12 km/h. We’ll let you pick.
Ever remember your mum or grandma telling you to “chew, don’t swallow”? Well, it wasn’t entirely unfounded. Research has shown that chewing your food to pulp can actually help burn calories. And well, these scientists have empirically measured the calories burned.
“How?” you may ask. Well, research published in the aptly titled journal Obesity has found that when we chew food up to a state where no lumps remain, we can burn up to an extra ten calories in digesting a meal of about 300 calories. On the other hand, directly swallowing your food with minimal or no chewing doesn’t burn any extra calories. So all of you fine ladies and gentlemen who practically inhale their breakfasts, you’re not doing yourselves any favours.
Ayurveda has always been a strong proponent of chewing slowly and chewing well – and it had its roots in science. Chewing food well increases blood flow to the gut. And an increase in blood flow signals spending more energy to digest food thoroughly.
Studies have also shown that obese people tend to chew their food relatively slower and more carefully than their fit counterparts. A particular study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that in a group of mixed participants (with both obese and lean people), where the participants were told to chew each bite of food for about 40 times, ate significantly lesser than they would normally.
Chewing also improves the balance of hormones that control hunger and satiety. So to feel fuller and less “snacky”, consider eating slowly and chewing more of your food.
Another study, this time published in the journal Appetite, proved that people who chewed meticulously gained less weight than the ones who ate faster; regardless of their BMI (Body Mass Index), drinking and exercise habits. It’s safe to say that this study can be regarded as conclusive because it took place over eight years and tracked different groups of people.
Conversely, the Journal of Epidemiology has revealed that those who eat fast risk developing Metabolic Syndrome. “Wait, but what is Metabolic Syndrome?” Well, it is about everything that can go wrong with you if you’re not eating right! Like High blood pressure, higher levels of cholesterol, higher blood sugar levels and an increase of subcutaneous fat around your precious waistline. Oh!
And did we also mention that it can also increase the risk of developing heart diseases, stroke and type II diabetes?
We really didn’t want to scare you. Like seriously. Treat this as a friendly piece of advice. You’ve been told to stop and smell the flowers; to enjoy life between deadlines and schedules. Well, this is us telling you to stop and chew. To taste every morsel of your meal and relish the flavour. And also burn calories while you’re at it. So remember folks, “chew, don’t swallow”.