So here you are, moving headlong into your weight loss journey, and you’re suddenly running down all of the small changes you’ve been making to your diet and lifestyle…and realizing that these changes are allowing you to lose weight and improve your health!
But have you thought about how you chew, or rather, how much you chew? And will eating slowly actually help you lose weight?
Reduce Calories by Eating Slowly
The answer is yes—eating slowly can reduce your calorie intake. By chewing at a slower rate, the satisfaction of each bite increases, which helps you go longer between each meal (or snack).
Eating at a slower pace can reduce your calorie intake because you typically won’t eat as much. And the opposite is also generally true—the faster you eat, the more you tend to put in your mouth.
In fact, studies have proven that it takes your brain 20 minutes to register that you’re full. And if you eat quickly, you could overeat before your brain tells you that you’re full.
How chewing food slowly can affect how much you eat
Researchers, nutritionists, and doctors have much to say about chewing. And most suggest that you chew your food an estimated 32 times before swallowing.
Softer food (such as watermelon or yogurt) will not take as much chewing effort. And more dense foods (such as steak and nuts) will require more effort. But the overall message is to slow down, enjoy your food, and avoid eating too quickly and too much.
Other health benefits from eating slowly
If you’re a quick eater and don’t take the time to chew your food, you could see digestive problems, such as bloating, heartburn, skin problems, indigestion, and headaches.
To avoid these digestive issues and focus on a healthy lifestyle—including a healthy weight—slow down your eating. As we previously discussed, eating slowly can reduce your calorie intake. But there are also other health benefits. Some of these include:
- Absorb more nutrients/energy from food
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Food gets more exposure to your saliva for digestion
- Easier digestion
- Good for your teeth
- Less harmful bacteria lingering in your intestines
- Savor and truly taste—and enjoy—your food
- Reduces stress levels
How to eat slowly and lose weight
- Don’t go hungry. When you’ve limited your food intake, you will be much hungrier and prone to eating quicker.
- Be intentional about chewing slower. It takes effort, but once it becomes a habit, it will become much more manageable.
- Drink water in between bites. This helps you take a break from the constant fork-to-mouth motion and gives you a healthy hydration option.
- Turn off all electronics. When you’re distracted, you tend to eat more because you’re not intentional about what you put in your mouth.
- Put your utensils down between each bite. This helps you focus on what you’re currently eating instead of thinking about the next bite.
The bottom line is this—your health should eat slowly. Chew and savor your food. Your body will thank you.
Are you trying to lose weight and become healthier? Schedule a call today so we can pair you with a Registered Dietitian that will prepare the best plan for your lifestyle—helping you meet your goals.