I have a very vivid image of a guest eating whole pieces of deli meat, one at a time. It brought to mind the expression “shoveling it in” as a way to describe someone who eats with a vengeance.
There is scientific research that suggests that people who are obese tend to eat more quickly and chew less thoroughly than their leaner counterparts. It’s easy to understand that eating quickly and chewing less leads to consuming more calories. But there’s actually more going on.
Next time you eat, without trying to change anything, notice how many times you chew a typical bite of food. Obviously, this will vary by the texture of the food. But most of us will find that, without conscious awareness, we tend to eat and swallow without adequately chewing our food.
How many chews are enough? One study indicated that chewing each mouthful 40 times led to a 12% reduction in calorie intake. Chewing that many times also causes a reduction in the production of ghrelin, a hormone associated with hunger.
There are other benefits of chewing each bite more. For example, since digestion begins in the mouth, chewing more will break your food into smaller bits, making it that much easier for your body to absorb nutrients from your food. Also, food that passes into your digestive system in larger pieces can lead to symptoms of digestive distress such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
For most of us, chewing each mouthful 40 times is not realistic and may even take away some of the pleasure from eating. But it is important to be aware that eating more slowly and chewing more completely are good habits to develop. Focusing on your meal by eating without distraction is a good first step. Eating more slowly and consciously is also important. Doing so will not only result in your consuming fewer calories, but you are bound to enjoy the food you eat more.
Since a gastric balloon works by restricting the amount of space in your stomach, you’ll naturally be eating less. Eating more slowly and chewing more thoroughly will help enjoy the food you do eat during your gastric balloon implantation period.
Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon. You can find her on Google+ or at email@example.com.