On a diet Forget the carrot sticks – just chew each mouthful for 30 secondsBirmingham researchers found this reduces appetite later in the dayThose who chewed for longer ate half as many snacks in the afternoon as those who ate normally
But the researchers warn part of the weight loss effect may be because eating becomes so boring
12:48 GMT, 28 December 2012
Fighting the flab might not be down to what you eat, but to how you eat it, according to new research.
Scientists say the secret to beating a bulging seasonal waistline is to chew each mouthful of lunch for 30 seconds before swallowing.
New research shows this has a powerful effect on appetite later in the day, curbing the desire for the chocolates, sweets and snacks that can pile on the pounds over the Christmas break.
Scientists say the secret to beating a bulging seasonal waistline is to chew each mouthful of lunch for 30 seconds before swallowing, rather than what you eat
Volunteers who chewed their lunch in this way during a recent experiment carried out by psychologists at the University of Birmingham, ate half as many snacks in the afternoon as those who ate normally.
Although previous studies have shown chewing for longer curbs calorie intake during a meal, the latest research, published in the journal Appetite, shows it can also have a significant impact on snacking habits later in the day.
The findings come during a period when Britain indulges in what is traditionally the biggest gastronomic blow-out of the year.
Research suggests a traditional Christmas lunch of roast turkey, roast potatoes, stuffing, sausages wrapped in bacon, bread sauce and vegetables totals just over 1,000 calories.
/12/28/article-2254151-14EACE9D000005DC-173_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”The actress Gwyneth Paltrow has famously spoken of chewing each mouthful of food several times before chewing, in a bid to control her weight ” class=”blkBorder” />
The actress Gwyneth Paltrow has famously spoken of chewing each mouthful of food several times before chewing, in a bid to control her weight
The Birmingham team wanted to assess how chewing for longer at lunchtime affected ‘grazing’ habits later in the day.
They recruited 43 students, mostly female, and asked them to refrain from eating for two hours before the test.
Each student was then presented with a plate of smoked ham and cheese sandwiches, all identical in size and shape.
A third of the students were told to eat as they normally would, another third to pause for ten seconds between swallowing each mouthful and the last group to chew each bite for 30 seconds before swallowing.
Two hours after the experiment, the students were handed a small bowl of Skittles – chewy, fruit flavoured sweets – and a bowl of Minstrels, the candy-coated chocolate treats.
During the procedure, volunteers were asked to rate their appetite and enjoyment of the food.
The results showed students who ate at their normal speed and those who stopped for ten seconds between bites ate the same amount of sweets.
But those who chewed each mouthful of lunch for 30 seconds ate half as many.
Yet the benefits came at a price, the researchers said.
‘Participants in the prolonged chewing group were less happy after lunch and had reduced ratings of lunch enjoyment, and pleasantness of the texture of lunch, compared with others,’ they said in a report on their findings.
‘These effects may be due to the novelty of prolonged chewing, or reduced palatability of the food.’
One reason it works may be that, by concentrating so much on the process of eating, the brain ‘remembers’ lunch for longer and is less likely to signal the need for more food so soon afterwards.
But the Birmingham team think it may also be that chewing for longer is so unpleasant that it dampens down cravings for snacks.
‘Because the participants did not particularly enjoy the lunch experience, this may have affected decisions about how many sweets to eat later.’
In a study last year, scientists in China found chewing each mouthful of food 40 times led to a 12 per cent drop in calorie intake during a meal.
A 2010 survey of 1,000 British people most chew their food just six times before swallowing it.
Catherine Collins, chief dietician at St George’s Hospital, London, said chewing for longer forms the backbone of an increasingly popular approach to weight loss known as ‘mindful eating’.
‘That’s where you deliberately think back to the last meal you had and the whole process of eating it. As a result, you snack less because the brain is telling the body it does not need more food.
‘If you are taking longer over lunch, it means you are more mindful of what you are eating and you are more likely to remember it later. This has a positive effect on your calorie intake.
‘The simple message here is if you concentrate more on what you are eating, it will help to reduce your food intake later.’