Mastication is the first step in ingesting food, but the effects of mastication on energy intake and gut hormones in both obese and lean subjects have not been extensively evaluated.
Researchers in China aimed to compare the differences in chewing activities between obese and lean subjects and to examine the effects of chewing on energy intake and gut hormone concentrations in both obese and lean subjects.
Sixteen lean and 14 obese young men participated in the current research. In study 1, they investigated whether the chewing factors of obese subjects were different from those of lean subjects. In study 2, they explored the effects of chewing on energy intake. A test meal consisting of 2200 kJ (68% of energy as carbohydrate, 21% of energy as fat, and 11% of energy as protein) was then consumed on 2 different sessions (15 chews and 40 chews per bite of 10 g of food) by each subject to assess the effects of chewing on plasma gut hormone concentrations.
The results show us that compared with lean participants, obese participants had a higher ingestion rate and a lower number of chews per 1 g of food. However, obese participants had a bite size similar to that of lean subjects. Regardless of status, the subjects ingested 11.9% less after 40 chews than after 15 chews. Compared with 15 chews, 40 chews resulted in lower energy intake and ghrelin (hunger hormone) concentration and higher and cholecystokinin (fullness hormone) concentrations in both lean and obese subjects.
In conclusion, interventions aimed at improving chewing activity could become a useful tool for combating obesity.