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June 10, 2024 7 min read

In the quest for effective weight loss strategies, attention often turns to what we eat, but how we eat is equally significant. One practice that has garnered attention is the habit of chewing food longer. This seemingly simple action can have profound effects on our digestion, satiety, and overall calorie intake.

By slowing down the eating process and thoroughly breaking down food, longer chewing may support weight management and promote healthier eating habits. This article explores the science behind how extended chewing can help you lose weight and provides practical tips for incorporating this practice into daily life.

How Many Times Should You Chew?

There isn't a universally agreed-upon specific number of times you should chew each bite of food, as it can vary based on the type of food and individual differences.

However, some general guidelines and suggestions can be helpful:

— Soft Foods: For softer foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, or ripe fruit, around 5–10 chews per bite might be sufficient.

— Medium-Textured Foods: For foods like pasta, cooked vegetables, or sandwiches, aiming for about 15–20 chews per bite is often recommended.

— Harder Foods: For harder foods like nuts, whole grains, raw vegetables, or meats, you might need to chew each bite 20-30 times or more to break them down properly.

A common suggestion is to chew each bite about 20–30 times. This range is generally effective for most foods and helps ensure thorough chewing, which aids digestion and promotes satiety.

However, the key is not to fixate on the number of chews, but to focus on chewing each bite thoroughly until the food is adequately broken down and mixed with saliva. This helps in better digestion and can contribute to the benefits of eating more slowly and mindfully.

Research suggests that fast eaters risk increased energy intake, which may be associated with weight gain and body mass index. They found that a faster eating rate in people with normal weight was strongly associated with a higher BMI and a larger waistline in both adults and children. Fast eating is a strong risk factor for obesity.

Fast eater

What is “eating rate”?

“Eating rate” refers to the speed at which an individual consumes food during a meal. It is typically measured by the amount of food or calories consumed per unit of time, such as bites per minute or the time taken to finish a meal.

Impact of Slow Eating on Energy Intake and Weight

Increased Energy Intake: Faster eating rates often lead to consuming more food before the body's satiety signals kick in. This can result in higher caloric intake. Furthermore, reducing calorie intake also reduces type 2 diabetes risks.

Delayed Satiety: Eating quickly can delay the brain's recognition of fullness, causing individuals to overeat.

— Mindful Eating: Chewing food longer causes slower eating, thereby promoting mindful eating practices, allowing individuals to better recognize hunger and fullness cues. Mindful eating is associated with many health benefits, including better weight control and a healthier relationship with food as you pay more attention to the taste, texture, and satisfaction of each bite.

Does Chewing More Make You Feel Full?

The act of chewing isn't necessarily what makes you feel full. Instead, the gut hormones released by the body play a key role.

Fullness hormones, also known as satiety hormones, play a crucial role in regulating appetite, and food intake. These hormones signal the brain to indicate when the body is full and no longer needs to eat. Key fullness hormones include leptin, ghrelin, cholecystokinin (CCK), peptide YY (PYY), and insulin.

Slow eating rate

Key Fullness Hormones and Their Functions

1. Leptin

Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells that plays a crucial role in regulating energy balance by inhibiting hunger. When fat stores are sufficient, leptin levels increase, signaling the brain, particularly the hypothalamus, to reduce appetite and increase energy expenditure.

This feedback mechanism helps maintain body weight and energy balance. High leptin levels suppress hunger, while low levels, which may occur during fasting or weight loss, increase appetite.

2. Ghrelin

Ghrelin, known as the “hunger hormone,” is primarily produced in the stomach and stimulates appetite. Ghrelin levels rise before meals, signaling the hypothalamus to promote feelings of hunger, and decrease after eating.

This hormone influences hunger and plays a role in regulating energy balance and promoting the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland, thus having multiple effects on metabolism and growth.

3. Cholecystokinin (CCK)

Cholecystokinin is released by the small intestine, particularly in response to the presence of fats and proteins. CCK promotes satiety and reduces food intake by slowing gastric emptying and stimulating the release of digestive enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the gallbladder.

By acting on receptors in the hypothalamus and the vagus nerve, CCK helps signal the brain that the body has consumed enough food, contributing to the sensation of fullness.

4. Peptide YY (PYY)

Peptide is produced in the small intestine and colon, with levels rising after eating, especially after high-protein and high-fat meals. PYY reduces appetite and inhibits gastric motility, thereby slowing the movement of food through the digestive tract.

By acting on the hypothalamus, PYY helps decrease appetite and promote feelings of fullness, aiding in the regulation of food intake and energy balance.

5. Insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas that primarily helps regulate blood sugar levels by facilitating the uptake of glucose into cells. Additionally, insulin plays a role in signaling satiety after meals. High levels of insulin after eating act on receptors in the hypothalamus to promote satiety and reduce food intake, signaling the brain that the body has enough energy, thus helping to regulate hunger and prevent overeating.

Interaction with the Brain

These hormones primarily interact with the hypothalamus, which is the brain's central hub for regulating hunger and energy balance. The hypothalamus processes signals from these hormones to determine whether to stimulate or suppress appetite.

When the body has sufficient energy, hormones like leptin and insulin signal the hypothalamus to reduce hunger. Conversely, when the body needs more energy, hormones like ghrelin signal the hypothalamus to increase appetite.

Importance in Weight Management

Proper functioning of these fullness hormones is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and control cravings. Dysregulation of these hormones can lead to issues like obesity or anorexia. For example, leptin resistance, where the brain does not respond effectively to leptin signals, can lead to increased food intake and weight gain.

Understanding and managing these hormonal signals through diet, lifestyle changes, and potentially medical interventions can help in weight management and overall health.

Fast eating causes indigestion

How Longer Chewing Improves Digestion

Chewing food for longer significantly improves digestion by mechanically breaking down food into smaller particles, which increases the surface area for digestive enzymes to act upon.

This thorough breakdown allows saliva, which contains digestive enzymes like amylase, to begin the process of carbohydrate digestion in the mouth. Saliva also moistens the food, forming a bolus that can be easily swallowed and efficiently passed through the esophagus into the stomach. Once the food reaches your stomach, hydrochloric acid and enzymes called proteases break it down into smaller chains of amino acids.

In the stomach, the smaller food particles are more readily mixed with gastric juices, enhancing the breakdown of proteins and other nutrients. This pre-digestion in the mouth and efficient mixing in the stomach facilitate smoother and more effective digestion and absorption of nutrients in the small intestine.

Additionally, longer chewing can help signal the brain to produce digestive hormones and prepare the gastrointestinal tract for incoming food, further optimizing the digestive process. Overall, chewing food thoroughly not only aids in nutrient absorption but also helps prevent digestive discomforts like bloating and indigestion.

How Longer Chewing Reduces Calorie Intake

Chewing food for longer can reduce calorie intake by promoting a sense of fullness and satiety more effectively, which helps prevent overeating.

Chewing food well gives the brain more time to receive and process signals from hormones like leptin and cholecystokinin (CCK) that indicate fullness. This extended chewing period slows down the eating process, allowing these satiety signals to reach the brain before too much food is consumed.

Additionally, longer chewing encourages mindful eating, making individuals more aware of the taste, texture, and quantity of food they are consuming, which can lead to better portion control and fewer calories. By taking the time to chew each bite thoroughly, individuals are likely to feel satisfied with eating less food, leading to a reduction in overall calorie intake and aiding in weight management.

over eating

Tips to Help Slow Down Eating Rate

Changing your eating habits to slow down your eating rate is mostly about mindfulness and awareness. Follow these tips to develop healthy eating habits:

  • - Chew Thoroughly: Aim to chew each bite at least 20–30 times before swallowing to ensure proper breakdown of food.

  • - Smaller Bites: Take smaller bites to extend the eating process and make each bite more manageable.

  • - Put Down Utensils: Place your fork or spoon down between bites to create natural pauses during your meal.

  • - Sip Water: Drink water between bites to slow down your pace and stay hydrated.

  • - Mindful Eating: Focus on the taste, texture, and aroma of your food, and avoid distractions like TV or smartphones while eating.

  • - Set a Timer: Use a timer or a mindful eating app to pace your eating, aiming for meals to last at least 20–30 minutes.

  • - Eat with Non-Dominant Hand: Use your non-dominant hand to eat, which can slow down your eating speed and make you more mindful.

  • - Engage in Conversation: If dining with others, engage in conversation, which can naturally slow down your eating rate.

  • - Pre-Portion Your Food: Serve yourself smaller portions and eat them slowly, rather than having a large plate of food that encourages faster eating.

  • - Avoid Eating on the Go: Sit down and dedicate time to enjoy your meal, rather than eating quickly while standing or multitasking.

While some tips, like setting a timer or using your non-dominant hand to eat, might seem excessive at first, they can be valuable tools in developing healthier eating habits over time. By consciously slowing down and savoring each bite, you can enhance your enjoyment of food, improve digestion, and support your weight loss goals.


Incorporating the habit of chewing food longer into your eating routine can be a valuable strategy for weight loss and overall health. By enhancing digestion, promoting a sense of fullness, and encouraging mindful eating, longer chewing helps to regulate calorie intake naturally and prevent overeating.

Regular workouts or other physical activities can further enhance weight loss. Embracing this mindful practice can lead to more enjoyable meals, better nutrient absorption, and a healthier relationship with food, supporting your long-term wellness goals.

While it is not a standalone solution, it is a simple yet effective component of a broader approach to healthy eating and weight management, which can be further enhanced by a thermogenic fat burner like SHREDDED-AF.

SHREDDED-AF is an advanced multistage thermogenic that focuses on boosting metabolism, suppressing cravings, and providing all-day energy and mental clarity without the crash!

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