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Scientists from the Harbin Medical University in China have found that your daily calorie intake can be reduced by as much as 12% simply by chewing your food 40 times instead of the typical 15 times
Keeping an eye at the obesity epidemic that is rapidly spreading around us, scientists are working at a furious pace to devise new methods to lose weight. The latest research in this field has found a very simple method of losing weight which can give astounding results if strictly adhered to. Scientists from the Harbin Medical University in China have found that your daily calorie intake can be reduced by as much as 12% simply by chewing your food 40 times instead of the typical 15 times.


The study, under the leadership of Jie Li, was undertaken to compare the differences in chewing activities of obese and lean people. The effect of chewing on the concentration of hormones present in the gut and the total calorie intake was also examined. It was found that chewing food for a longer duration resulted in consumption of fewer calories which could ultimately lead to a better weight control.


The researchers of the study found that an average person tends to chew his food 15 times. However, if he spends a longer time on chewing his food and chews it 40 times, then he is likely to reduce his daily calorie intake. According to Adam Drewnowski, director of the University of Washington Center for Obesity Research in Seattle, a reduction in daily calorie consumption by 12% can translate into a loss of as much as 25 pounds per year.

Methods to Improve Chewing Habits can be Useful in Combating Obesity

The participants in the study consisted of 16 lean and 14 obese men. The researchers tried to find out whether the chewing factors of obese subjects were different from those of lean subjects. They also tried to explore the effects of chewing on energy intake. The participants were served a test meal containing 2200 kJ calories in two different sessions. In the first session they were required to chew the food 15 times per bite of 10 grams while in the second session, the rate was slowed down to 40 chews per bite. It was found that compared to lean subjects, the obese subjects tend to chew their food at a faster rate even though their bite sizes were similar. Chewing the food 40 times resulted in a lower energy intake.

The researchers also tried to find if the amount of chewing was in any way related to the levels of certain hormones which stimulate appetite in the brain. They found that a chewing rate of 40 was associated with lower blood levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, as well as higher levels of postprandial glucagon-like peptide 1 and cholecystokinin, hormones believed to reduce appetite.

According to Shuran Wang, a co-author of the study, methods to improve chewing habits can be useful in combating obesity and future obesity therapies will be developed keeping these in mind. However, he agreed to several shortcomings in the study. A typical diet consists of food like soups and ice-creams which cannot be chewed. Moreover, chewing for a longer duration is not a very feasible option for obesity prevention.

  • “Can chewing more help you eat less?” by Eric Schultz, Reuters, published on Aug 1, 2011, accessed on Aug 5, 2011.
  • “Improvement in chewing activity reduces energy intake in one meal and modulates plasma gut hormone concentrations in obese and lean young Chinese men”, by Jie Li, Shuran Wang, et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online Jul 20, 2011, accessed on Aug 5, 2011.
  • Photo courtesy of iamtdj on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/robotar/2378183148/