Have you heard of Mindful Eating? Wait...before you click this closed just give me a second. This is not a dietary fad or multi-level marketing pitch. This is just a ZERO COST tidbit of information for you.
I tend to eat way too fast! Plates cleaned and up from the table while others are just unfolding the napkin and getting settled. Okay that was an exaggeration...maybe... but you get the picture. I used to blame my job as the cause of my fast eating. The truth is I ate this way everywhere, on vacation and at church dinners. I was the guy that everyone said, "Did you even taste that!?!" This is not just an isolated problem for a few. Many Americans eat their food way too fast.
You might be asking, "Is this really a problem?" and I am here to share that it is. Science has shown a greater risk of metabolic syndrome and other health issues for people who eat too fast. There are nerves in our stomach which can be overwhelmed when we eat too fast. By slowing down the pace of our eating it can reduce the amount of extra calories we take in. Yes, you read that correctly. Nutritional studies have shown men and women who slow down eat fewer calories. Taking in fewer calories is a key to successful weight management. So we need to SLOW DOWN.
You might be asking, "How will this work for me?" and so let us break it down. I am sure you are like me and love the taste of food. When you eat fast you tend to eat bigger bites and spend less time chewing. So if you enjoy the taste of your food then you will eat more for the taste. But by taking smaller bites and chewing longer, you get to enjoy the flavor of your meal that much more. Not only do you get the chance to enjoy the taste but you help your digestion. You see the digestive process begins with mouth. The chewed food mixes with saliva and this is passed to the stomach.
Before we go too far down the Mindful Eating discussion let me share this, there is no magic number of chews to guide you. You have to use some common sense, it is doubtful that you need to chew a single cooked pea 32 times. But a single chomp on a 1x1 piece of steak is probably not doing yourself any favors either. You have to make the call if your food is properly chewed.
Back on digestion and the benefits of well chewed food. You eat to provide energy and nutrients to your body. At some point you have heard or read a food is "packed full of vitamins and nutrients". Well the stomach and intestines can only work with what they are given. Undigested food can pass all the way through the system relatively intact. Don't believe me? Think about some of the jokes about corn. Undigested food is stress on the digestive tract.
Bottom line is slow down, chew your food and enjoy your food.