Chewing more could make you eat less, meaning fewer calorie intake, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The findings showed that study participants who chewed about 2.5 times more than the typical 15 times caused them to eat almost 12 percent less calories. This could be important information for those wanting to control food intake.
The study found a connection between the hormones that "tell the brain when to begin to eat and when to stop eating."
Researchers from China's Harbin Medical University looked into the connection between obesity and chewing by seeking differences in how 16 obese young men and 16 young men of normal weight chewed their food. They also explored whether chewing causes people to eat less or affects blood sugar levels and hormones that regulate appetite.
More chewing showed lower blood levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin and higher levels of CCK, a hormone widely believed to reduce appetite. Regulating these hormones may help people control their appetite.
Co-author Shuran Wang said these hormones may represent useful targets for future "obesity therapies".
While the authors did not find any link between chewing duration and blood sugar or insulin levels in the study participants, the 12 percent calorie reduction by the group who chewed their food 40 times rather than 15 times could translate into significant weight loss.
The study was small in that it only measured a limited number of obese and non-obese young men. Nevertheless, the authors conclude that studying eating behaviors and obesity is worth studying further.