How much do you need to chew your food?

British dentist John H. Farrell spent much of his career studying the relationship between chewing and digestion. This involved repeated experiments in which he put bits of food in small, cotton-mesh bags, had subjects chew the food (or not), and then swallow it. The next step was more unpleasant:

On recovery from the faeces the bags were washed gently and the contents, if any, were examined and weighed.

The years he spent doing this convinced him that "very little chewing is required for maximum digestion."

More info: "The effect on digestibility of methods commonly used to increase the tenderness of lean meat"

Bedford Times-Mail - Apr 17, 1964

     Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 21, 2022
     Category: Food | Experiments | Stomach | Teeth

I've heard several doctors claim a patient's weight loss after entering a nursing home was due to their not wearing dentures, and the chunks of food they swallowed weren't digested well.
Posted by Phideaux on 11/21/22 at 11:53 AM
How does one "gently" wash the recovered remaining food without adversely effecting the weight and composition? Besides that, 10 healthy adults doesn't provide an adequate number of subjects from which to draw any conclusions.
Posted by Teri on 11/22/22 at 12:01 AM
@phideaux: I believe it. But "not very well" is not the same thing as "barely at all", and he does mention good dentures.

Of course, it does depend on whether your diet consists of gruel or of corn on the cob...
Posted by Richard Bos on 11/27/22 at 04:40 AM
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