Woman taking her time to taste and chew her salad to help her lose weight

Want to Lose Weight? Chew Your Food Longer

Want to Lose Weight? Chew Your Food Longer

Scientifically reviewed by: Michael A. Smith, MD

Ever joke that the only exercise you did today was eating a lot of delicious food? Well, according to a new study, it turns out that chewing food thoroughly may indeed contribute to your caloric burn—and your ability to lose weight.

A recent study published in Scientific Reports links chewing with increased energy expenditure and possible obesity prevention. The results out of Waseda University in Japan showed that tasting and chewing food for 30 seconds boosted heat generation after eating. (Burn, calories, burn!) This practice may help you on your weight loss journey.

"Increased diet-induced thermogenesis induced by chewing and taste stimuli may help to prevent overweight and obesity," the authors stated.

How many times should you chew your food?

The study found significant energy changes after meals by testing a time of 30 seconds for tasting and chewing.

At a rate of one chew per second, the study matched up with the widely-touted guideline of 32 chews per bite. In addition to helping limit your calorie intake, chewing helps start the digestive process, setting your stomach up for soothing success as your meal makes its way through your system.

Chewing and weight loss: It’s a cumulative effect

It's not new that eating more slowly and chewing food well can lead to weight loss. Past research has shown that such practices are a good way to eat less and boost your energy expenditure after a meal—both great ways to lose weight.

This recent study—admittedly a small one—shows that the act of tasting and active chewing significantly increased thermogenesis, regardless of the consistency of the food itself. It also found tasting and chewing increased the movement of food through the upper GI tract. So, you could benefit from changing the way you eat, even before changing the diet you are eating.

"While the difference in energy expenditure per meal is small, the cumulative effect gathered during multiple meals, taken over every day and 365 days a year, is substantial," one researcher told Science Daily.

Why does slow eating help with weight loss?

Slow eating brings mindfulness into your meals, giving your brain time to realize you're full. The result? You eat less, which is key to any weight loss program.

Past studies have linked speed of eating with waist circumference because rapid eating often leads to overeating. Slow, mindful eating also helps you savor your food, which may lead to more intuitive eating and fewer unhealthy cravings.

Does chewing more make you full?

The act of chewing isn't necessarily what makes you feel full. But taking the time to eat slowly, with purpose, gives your fullness hormones time to signal your brain to stop eating before you eat more than you need—they turn off your hunger cues.

This stops the cycle of overeating that sinks many healthy intentions. Although chewing won't make you full, it will help you take the time to better enjoy your food and bask in the warm glow of a good meal.

How do you boost your metabolism? 5 tips & hacks

Changing your eating habits can help boost your thermogenesis after eating, but you'll need to do more if you want to kick your metabolism into higher gear. Here are five ways:

  1. Add metabolism-boosting foods to your plate

    —Proteins, spices, legumes and even coffee can help give your metabolism the kick-start it needs.
  2. Get your body moving

    —Not only does it burn calories and improve your physical health, but exercise supports your mental health, too. Regular exercise also encourages restful sleep, which is needed to keep your metabolism in top shape. And 30 minutes a day at least five days a week is all it takes to get the whole-body health benefits of exercise.

    Pro-tip: Mix it up! Target and tone large muscle groups by adding resistance and weightlifting training twice a week.

  3. Stay hydrated

    —Water is a great replacement for sugary drinks. And sometimes we mistake hunger for thirst, so guzzling some H2O is a good way to prevent grazing.
  4. Take care of your gut

    —Research shows taking gut-health probiotics can improve your metabolic health.
  5. Boost your AMPK

    AMPK is an enzyme that acts as a thermostat for cellular energy, so make sure you keep your metabolism powered up by increasing AMPK levels and activity with proper diet or nutrients.



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