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How Does Chewing Food Properly And Slowly Help You Stay Slim?

Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD · Internal or General Medicine

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Apr 10, 2022

How Does Chewing Food Properly And Slowly Help You Stay Slim?

We usually associate digestion with the stomach and intestines, but deep down we know that it starts in the mouth. Right after biting, we break down the food with our saliva, and, of course, teeth as we chew. Now, it may seem “trivial,” but did you know that chewing food properly may have a link in preventing weight gain? 

Chewing Food Properly And Staying Slim: What’s The Connection?

Reports say chewing food properly, meaning slowly, helps increase diet-induced thermogenesis. 

Diet-induced thermogenesis or DIT is the heat generation in the body after meals. But, how does the simple act of chewing increase DIT? And how does increased DIT help prevent weight gain?

A study answered these questions. 

The research had three stages. In each stage, the participants were asked to swallow, hold, and chew 20-ml of “liquid test food,” respectively. Results showed that there was no significant difference in hunger and fullness between the stages. 

However, they noted that DIT increased with the duration of tasting and chewing food. It did so by increasing gas exchange, protein oxidation, and splanchnic artery blood circulation. This artery feeds blood to the digestive organs, which then help increase intestinal movement. 

Is There A “Magic” Number When It Comes To Chewing Food Properly?

If you’ve ever researched the potential benefits of chewing food properly, then you might have come across number 32. Some people say chewing food 32 times breaks down food so that it becomes easier to digest them. Of course, foods that are harder to chew may require more chewing. 

The thing is, there’s no study surrounding this “magic” number. It is, however, close to the number of times the participants chewed the liquid test food in the study we mentioned above. 

In the study, the participants chewed their food once every second for 30 seconds. 

They also said that the increase in DIT may be small per meal, but it becomes “substantial” due to the cumulative effect of all meals a person eats in a year. Hence, chewing food properly for longer can help prevent obesity and metabolic syndromes, conditions that increase a person’s risk to many diseases, like diabetes and heart problems. 

Chewing Food Properly: Additional Benefits

Here’s another interesting benefit of chewing or mastication: it might be able to boost your mouth’s immune system, thereby protecting you from certain illnesses. 

Researchers at The University of Manchester and National Institutes of Health in the USA found that mastication stimulates a type of immune cell that can help protect us against bacterial and fungal infections commonly found in the mouth³.

Of course, besides these, chewing food properly helps in smooth digestion. When you don’t chew food enough, large chunks of food may enter the digestive tract and trigger conditions, like bloating and constipation

Also, let’s not forget that mastication helps prevent choking, which might happen when you try to swallow large pieces of food without chewing them. Adults often resort to this habit when they’re in a hurry. 

Problems in Chewing? Seek Help

Some people may not chew their food properly because of concerns that need to be addressed. 

For instance, people who experience toothache may not chew their food properly. The same goes for people who have an uneven bite. Finally, jaw problems may also pose some problems in chewing. 

In all these instances, it’s best to visit an orthodontist. They can assess the condition and offer appropriate and effective solutions, so that the patient can regain their ability to chewing food properly. 

Key Takeaways

Chewing food properly has many benefits. More than helping with digestion, studies show that it can also help people stay slim, thereby avoiding obesity and metabolic syndrome. 

If you have problems chewing food properly, it’s best to seek the help of a healthcare professional.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Dexter Macalintal, MD

Internal or General Medicine

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Apr 10, 2022

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