Chew 32 times: Myth or magic

Published: 04th March 2013 08:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th March 2013 08:28 AM   |  A+A-

Chewing food 32 times has almost been inducted into the league of grandma’s home recipes for combating obesity - the world’s worst killer disease today.

There is nothing new about obesity except its ever- increasing reach thanks to urban stress-ridden lifestyles. Tough jobs, sedentary routines and eating excessive junk food to kill hunger pangs and get bits of energy.

The idea reportedly came from Horace Fletcher who suggested chewing food 32 times at the speed of 100 times per minute before swallowing it.

Fletcher attributed his fitness at the age of 60 to this. He even pitted himself against younger athletes in an endurance test and reportedly emerged a winner at the age of 58.

In the current tech gen, most answers are sought online as the internet has become the  home recipe generator instead of grandma. A search of ‘chew your food 32 times’  revealed several health blogs, websites, lifestyle portals offering this advice.

One health blog goes as far as to claim that chewing 32 times reduces calorie intake by 32 per cent. There are no reviews or results of clinical trials yet of this exercise in healthier eating but there are several individual testimonies. Sandeep Maheshwari, a young entrepreneur said that diet and exercise did not work for him and he went back to eating fatty food and leaving unhealthily.

Then, he lost a visible quantity of body fat by, as per his claims, by chewing his food 32 times before swallowing it. In fact, he displayed a plastic plate, off which he ate for the first nine months of this experiment. The letters 32 were cut into its centre. Of course, with half the plate punctured with the digits, much food would not fit into it.

These testimonies cannot be proof alone. Dietitians and doctors have argued that its not  just about how many times you are chewing but also what you are chewing. But they did agree that it helps speed up the digestion process and gives the feeling of being filled before one had sinfully gorged on fatty foods. It has not yet been proved if, how and in exactly what circumstances this works.

Cancer foundation Livestrong writes, “Sensible eating involves chewing food until the food is savoured and the morsel is small enough to be safely and easily swallowed. Rather than chewing exactly 32 times, make a practice to eat slowly and stop between every few bites to relax or chat with your table mates.” But Livestrong Foundation

itself proffers the benefit of chewing food multiple times before swallowing food. “If you thoroughly chew your food, you will slow down your eating and, possibly, eat less total food. Also, the signal that you are full takes around 20 minutes to register and, if you are eating slowly, you will realize you are full before you consume more food than your body needs. Another benefit to chewing 32 times is that you get more enjoyment from the food, which can, in theory, help you eat less,” said a report on the website of Livestrong, which promotes healthy lifestyle. The accepted way to practice this would be to mash the food with your teeth and swallow only after the enter food has become desolidified.

It is advised that those on a strict diet or weight loss regime or with other ailments should consult their physicians before suddenly switching to this technique of eating food.

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