Why Chewing Your Food is Good For You

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Researchers at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Expo discussed a recent study that shows when subjects chew almonds thoroughly, their body can absorb more of the smaller food particles to maximize nutrient intake and create greater energy sources. Fewer chews created larger particles that were eliminated by the body. In the study, individuals consumed almonds by chewing 10 times, 25 times or 40 times, and researchers analyzed the fecal fat and energy lost.

In an article on Food Product Design, Richard Mattes, professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, reveals that particle size of food affects the bioaccessibility of the food's energy. "The more you chew, the less is lost and more is retained in the body," he explains. Not only does the study shed light on chewing habits, but its results may change how we consume food. While whole almonds may be a good protein source, Mattes says chopped almonds, almond butter and almond oil may be better for maximizing vitamin E intake.

Scientists continue to estimate the energy derived from food using calculations created more than a century ago, but these recent findings reveal that many variables can affect how efficiently our bodies extract energy from plant-based foods and calls for more digestibility studies in humans.

Image Credit: Chris Ryan

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