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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Why men wolf down their meals while women take their time

The sexes have different CHEWING patterns 

  • Researchers found men take larger, more powerful bites when eating
  • Means they eat their meals faster than women who chew at the same speed
  • Women chewed each mouthful more times, taking longer to eat a meal
Many a woman has watched in disbelief as their partner inhales their food minutes after sitting down to dinner.
Now Korean researchers have discovered why: men and women actually chew differently.
Men take larger, more powerful bites - meaning they finish eating more quickly - while women chew each individual mouthful more times - taking longer to finish eating their meal.
The researchers recruited 24 male and 24 female undergraduates from the Semyung University in South Korea, where they are based.

Men eat faster than women because they take larger, more powerful bites, which means they consume their meal more quickly, Korean researchers found
Men eat faster than women because they take larger, more powerful bites, which means they consume their meal more quickly, Korean researchers found

In order to analyse each individual’s chewing pattern, they hooked electrodes up to their jaws and fed them 152g of boiled white rice, Past Magazine reports. 
They documented the size of people’s bites, total chewing time per mouthful of food, total number of chews and how long it took the person to eat the entire meal.

There was a large variation between men and women on every parameter, they found.
Men typically take larger bites with more ‘chewing power’, which means they consume their meal more quickly than women.
Though women were found to have the same chewing pace as men, they chewed each mouthful more times, slowing down the total time it took them to eat their meal. 
The study was published in the January issue of the Physiology and Behaviour journal.
It flies in the face of an earlier study, by researchers at Nippon Dental University’s Department of Partial and Complete Denture, in Tokyo, Japan, which found no difference in how the sexes chewed gum.
Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University said there was not only a difference in how the sexes chew, but between different types of people.


Chewing breaks food down into small pieces, which increases the surface area for the digestive enzymes to react with and so helps swallowing and digestion.
Chewing also sends messages to the brain through the trigeminal nerve in the face.
The brain then sends signals down the vagus nerve (the long nerve connecting to the abdomen) to tell the stomach to start acid secretion in preparation for the food arriving.
Chewing also generates saliva from the salivary glands, which mixes with the food, ensuring it’s the right consistency to be digested and travel through the digestive system. 
Saliva is also essential for cleaning our mouths when we’re eating. 
People with ‘type A’ personalities - typically fast moving, impatient and ambitious people - tend to eat quickly.
Conversely, ‘type B’ characters - who are generally more laid back, considered and approach things at a slower pace - will relish their mealtimes, Professor Cooper told MailOnline.
His observation comes after actress and model Gwyneth Paltrow, revealed during her 20s she followed a macrobiotic diet, during which chewed her food at least 50 times per swallow.
This was thought to aid digestion, and means the stomach sends signals to the brain indicating it is satisfied, making a person feel fuller sooner, and eat less calories overall.
On average, it is said we chew 800 to 1,400 times a day. 
But Dr Nick Read, chief medical adviser for charity The IBS Network, said a change in our diet means we don't need to chew as often as in the past.
He said: ‘The Victorians thought you needed to chew food 14 times but we generally wait until it feels right and then swallow - it’s intuitive.’
But because our diet has become softer, thanks to all that processed food, we now don’t need to chew for so long.
However, raw fruit and vegetables, and meat, demand more chewing. 
Dr Read told MailOnline: ‘If you don’t, lumps of food will pass through your digestive system and not be completely absorbed.' 


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