Crunch! Chew Your Way to Healthier Eating
How chewing more can help you eat less
Foods That Go Crunch
Mindful eating is slower eating. And because foods with crunch and texture
take longer to eat, they may lead to greater satisfaction than softer
Consider a breakfast of a smoothie compared with a bowl of crunchy cereal
with fresh fruit. The drink goes down easily, while the cereal requires lots of
chewing. Because the cereal takes longer to eat, it should satisfy you longer.
If the smoothie contains satisfying ingredients such as protein and fiber, it,
too, can provide good satiety. But because it can be drunk quickly, your brain
may not get the "full" signal' and you might end up eating more.
Crunchy foods like pretzels, carrots, apples, and celery also give your
mouth and jaw a workout that can be energizing. These snacks fill your belly,
and may help you feel more alert during a midday slump.
So the next time you reach for a meal or snack, think crunch -- top yogurt
with a handful of nuts or whole-grain cereal, layer sandwiches with sliced
vegetables, have a bowl of popcorn -- to help give you the feeling of
Benefits of Chewing Gum
Consumer research has found that people chew gum to freshen their breath,
for a healthy mouth, and simply because they like the taste.
Chewing gum, particularly sugar-free gum, provides oral health benefits by
increasing saliva and thus helping to cleanse the mouth of bacteria that can
cause decay. Saliva production is important for oral health because saliva
contains buffers, minerals, and antibacterial agents. Increased saliva flow
helps to neutralize acids in the mouth and enhances the re-mineralization of
the tooth enamel. It also helps clear the mouth of any food debris that may get
caught between teeth.
Emerging research suggests that chewing sugar-free gum might also help with
appetite control. Chewing gum may help satisfy the urge for something sweet.
Studies have shown that chewing a piece of gum before snacks appears to reduce
the desire for, and intake of, sweet snacks throughout the day.
Chewing a piece of gum while cooking can help keep you from sampling the
meal. It can also be a diversionary tactic to keep you from impulse snacking
when you're bored or tired.
Variety: Is it the Spice of Life?
Eating a limited variety of foods at mealtime is another tactic that may
help with weight control. It turns out that variety may not be the spice of
life if you want to lose weight.
In studies, when people are offered more foods to choose from, they end up
eating more than when the selections are limited. We simply end up eating more
when the flavors are diverse and keep changing.
So stick with the tried-and-true healthy options -- especially those with
plenty of crunch -- on your eating plan, and limit the variety of foods to help
control your appetite. Throw in a piece of gum or two throughout the day, and
see if these minor tweaks can help you shed more pounds.