Your mother’s motivation for encouraging proper chewing was driven by the desire to avoid you choking. But, her admonishment to chew, had additional health benefits.
I am full message
The arrival of food in the gut is met with a complex physiological response.
The gut, immediately sets about breaking the food down into its chemical constituents, through the action of enzymes. But it also finds the time, to send a message to the brain, informing it that food has arrived.
The “I am full” message needs to get to the brain, so it can switch from a state of hunger, to a state of satisfaction i.e. appetite suppression. The “I am full” message is delivered using several intestinal peptides.
The benefits of a good chew
Japanese researchers from Ohu University in Fukushima found that an extra chew or two, amplified the “I am full” message.
The researchers measured the blood levels of two intestinal peptides, glucogon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY, before and 1 hour after a meal. On one occasion the participants chewed only 5 x per bite and on another occasion, they had to chew 30 x before swallowing. On both occasions the meal consumed was identical and it was eaten early in the morning, after a 12 hour fast.
As expected, the levels before the meal were low, after the meal the levels shot up. The longer they chewed, the higher the postprandial (after the meal) level. In the case of GLP-1 the level rose from 16.9 pmol/L to 29.3 pmol/L i.e. it more or less doubled. Peptide YY levels followed a similar pattern, hitting levels of 65.9 pg/mL after 30 chews, compared to 41.3 pg/mL after 5 chews.
The “I am full” message is thus received loud and clear by the brain the more you chew, which hopefully helps curb the appetite. Stopping sooner rather than later, should cut the calorie intake down a little.
Fewer calories in, means fewer excess calories which can potentially end up being stored as fat.
GLP-1 is an expensive drug
Chewing food more effectively gives a shot of GLP-1.
Shots of GLP-1, in the form of an expensive drug known as exenatide (marketed at Byetta) , are used to treat people who suffer from type II diabetes.
GLP-1 work by stimulating the release of insulin and inhibiting glucagon release. In type II diabetes, the extra insulin helps to control the sugar levels, which are too high.
So that extra long chew, can give you a dose of medicine without the BIG price tag saving the liver from postprandial woes.
Chew the cud
Chewing each morsel you eat 30 times is likely to drag out dinner and could possible cause jaw cramps, so I’m guessing it won’t be something that you could easily manage on a routine basis.
But, most of us don’t do what Mom said – chew our food properly. Eating on the run leaves us swallowing bigger bits than we should.
So make an effort to grind, gnaw, chomp and squash that mouthful before swallowing, to limit the calories you’re consuming.
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below