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Effects of Chewing on Appetite, Food Intake and Your Gut Hormones

If you celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday by enjoying food with family or friends, you may be lamenting the sheer amount of food you ate, or the calories that you took in. Did you know that chewing your food well can not only affect how much you eat, but also how much nutrition you derive from food? In a meta-analysis by Miquel-Kergoat et al. on the affects of chewing on several variables, researchers found that chewing affects hunger, caloric intake, and even has an impact on gut hormones. Ten papers that covered thirteen trials were included in the meta-analysis. From these trials, the following data are reported:

  • 10 of 16 studies found that prolonged chewing reduced a person’s food intake
  • chewing decreases self-reported hunger
  • chewing decreases amount of food intake
  • increasing the number of chews per bite increases gut hormone release
  • chewing promotes feeling full

Research about eating behavior theories are highlighted in this paper, and include a discussion of the variety of factors, both internal and external, that control eating. Chewing is described as providing “…motor feedback to the brain related to mechanical effort…” that may influence how full a person feels when eating foods that are chewed. On the contrary, foods and beverages that do not require much chewing may be associated with overconsumption due to the lack of chewing required. (This makes sense when considering sugar-laden, high-calorie beverages.) Additionally, chewing food mixes important digestive enzymes and breaks down the food properly in the mouth, making the process of digestion further along the digestive tract more efficient. Another study by Cassady et al. which assessed differences in hunger when chewing almonds 25 versus 40 times reported that increased chewing led to decreased hunger and increased satiety when compared to chewing only 25 times.

The theory presented, yet not concluded, in this paper is that chewing may affect gut hormones and thereby decrease self-reported hunger and decrease food intake. For various reasons, including deriving more nutrition from our food, avoiding overconsumption, or making the process of digestion more efficient, focusing more on the act of chewing our food can have beneficial affects. To learn more about health and nutrition, attend the Institute’s course Nutrition Perspectives for the Pelvic Rehab Therapist (link: https://hermanwallace.com/continuing-education-courses/nutrition-perspectives-for-the-pelvic-rehab-therapist). This continuing education course was written and instructed by Meghan Pribyl, who is not only a physical therapist who practices in pelvic rehabilitation and orthopedics, but who also has a degree in nutrition. Her training and qualifications allow her to share important information that integrates the fields of rehabilitation and nutrition. Your next opportunity to take this course is in March in Kansas City.


Cassady, B. A., Hollis, J. H., Fulford, A. D., Considine, R. V., & Mattes, R. D. (2009). Mastication of almonds: effects of lipid bioaccessibility, appetite, and hormone response. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 89(3), 794-800. Miquel-Kergoat, S., Azais-Braesco, V., Burton-Freeman, B., & Hetherington, M. M. (2015). Effects of chewing on appetite, food intake and gut hormones: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Physiology & behavior, 151, 88-96.

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