Chewing: Get more out of your food

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July 26, 2013

Chewing: Get more out of your food

Looking to improve digestion, cut your portion size, get more out of your food, or just enjoy your food more? Well here is one simple tip, shown by science, that gets us more from less

Looking to improve digestion, cut your portion size, get more out of your food, or just enjoy your food more? Well here is one simple tip, shown by science, that gets us more from less. Chew your food well!
 
According to a recent panel discussion at the 2013 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo® held in Chicago, chewing may be more important that how much you actually eat.
 
“Particle size has bioaccessibility of the energy of the food that is being consumed,” said Dr. Richard Mattes, professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. In more palatable terms, the more you chew, the more your body can extract from the foods you are eating.
 
Foods high in fiber, ie fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains need to be chewed thoroughly in order to extract all of the fats as well as vitamins and minerals found in the food. Other variables such as cooking method affect how efficiently the body extracts energy from food.
 
According to Dr. Mattes, “When your total diet is higher in fiber, there's a greater loss of fat… Fiber binds with fatty acids to create energy sources in the body.”
 
The standard to measure calories in food is the Atwater Factors, based on calculations created over 125 years ago by Wilbur O. Atwater, a USDA agricultural chemist who published his findings from more than 200 dietary studies on caloric content (in kcal/g) in food. Atwater found that carbohydrates have 4 (kcal per gram), proteins 4 and fats 9.

We now know that there are many more factors that affect our body’s ability to absorb calories, and other nutrients, and thus more research is needed to more accurately assess calorie content in foods.  The conclusion of the study can be summed up by: Chew your food! Chewing food thoroughly ensures that the food will eventually be digested fully and more easily assimilated in the body. The mouth is the first part of your digestive system and chewing triggers the release of enzymes that help break down food, as well as slowing you down if you concentrate on chewing your food thoroughly. Eating this way gives your body enough time to register when you’re full – so most likely you won't overeat and maybe even eat less.  

 
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