Archive for March 3rd, 2009

Chewing Nuts and Weight Loss

March 3, 2009

I recommend munching on nuts like almonds or cashew for snacks among my patients becuase of their monounsaturated fat content.  The problem however with nuts is the tendency to overeat and the difficulty of stopping.

We are told that chewing ones food more often than swallowing right away after chewing 2x can have a dramatic effect on satiety and weight. More often than not, we chew our food only few times then swallow then grab some more food until we feel so bloated.  Thus it is often my principle to chew food properly and do it more times to allow my brain to inform my body that I am full!

Here’s one study that I found interesting published recently in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  This study looked at the number of times one chew the nuts and measure their level of satiety.


Background: Epidemiologic and clinical data indicate that nuts can be incorporated into the diet without compromising body weight. This has been attributed to strong satiety properties, increased resting energy expenditure, and limited lipid bioaccessibility.

Objective: The role of mastication was explored because of evidence that the availability of nut lipids is largely dependent on the mechanical fracture of their cell walls.

Design: In a randomized, 3-arm, crossover study, 13 healthy adults (body mass index, in kg/m2: 23.1 ± 0.4) chewed 55 g almonds 10, 25, or 40 times. Blood was collected and appetite was monitored during the following 3 h. Over the next 4 d, all foods were provided, including 55 g almonds, which were consumed under the same chewing conditions. Complete fecal samples were collected.

Results: Hunger was acutely suppressed below baseline (P < 0.05), and fullness was elevated above baseline longer (P < 0.05) after 40 chews than after 25 chews. Two hours after consumption, fullness levels were significantly lower and hunger levels were significantly higher after 25 chews than after 10 and 40 chews (P < 0.05). Initial postingestive glucagon-like peptide-1 concentrations were significantly lower after 25 chews than after 40 chews (P < 0.05), and insulin concentrations declined more rapidly after 25 and 40 chews than after 10 chews (both P < 0.05). Fecal fat excretion was significantly higher after 10 chews than after 25 and 40 chews (both P < 0.05). All participants had higher fecal energy losses after 10 and 25 chews than after 40 chews (P < 0.005).

Conclusion: The results indicate important differences in appetitive and physiologic responses to masticating nuts and likely other foods and nutrients. 


For me the significance of this study boils down to one: Chewing ones food more often is healthier for the body in terms of early satiety and therefore better for weight control.  This study really justifies the concept of chewing food slowly around 20 times or more before swallowing to allow your body to register that food has entered and that you’re full.  By practicing this behavior, one also is able to control the appetite and therfore results in better regulation of weight! 

So if you love nuts…chew them properly…chew them more than 40 x if you want… they’re not only healthy snack alternatives but better for weight loss too.