There are more than 1.6 trillion people in the world who are overweight. As of 2016, Americans spend in excess of $60 billion annually to try to lose weight. While there are no miracle cures to solve the obesity epidemic, there are many things we can do -- that cost nothing at all -- to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
One such freebie is chewing your food. Chewing your food may not sound as glamorous as following the latest weight loss diet -- it doesn’t require any cute fitness apparel and, let’s be honest, it really isn’t worthy of a social media post. It’s doubtful one would get many likes or retweets on “just chewed my turkey sandwich 100 times.” However, research from Iowa State University found that increases in the number of chews before swallowing may provide beneficial effects on satiety and facilitate glucose absorption.
The cost of the typical over-the-counter appetite suppressant: $30; chewing your food more: FREE! But if it really does work, why aren’t more people doing it. The simple answer is that it is really, really hard to do. Just try it and see for yourself. Set the timer on your phone during your next meal and you will probably be surprised at how fast you consume your meal.
So how does one retrain themselves to eat slower? First, try sitting down while you eat. Next, put the fork down every few bites and sit on your hands. Take smaller bites and savor the flavors. Try to avoid eating in the car or on the run. Time yourself if necessary and set realistic goals. If you find that you need help, there are phone apps designed to help “re-teach” you how to eat. The apps time your chewing intervals and encourage you to slow down and enjoy your meal.
Bottom Line: Savor the flavor of your meal. Chew your food until it is in a liquid state before swallowing. This will enhance digestion and satiety, which is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight.
Written by: Wendimere Reilly, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern