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How many times do you chew a bite of food?

Assuming you chew, of course?

Do you pay attention?

Many scientists say the optimal number of chews per average bite of food is around 10 chews.

Personally, I don't think I chew my average bite of food 10 times. Certainly not things like PB&J, and even things like dry cereal, I don't think I go for more than 5 or 6, tops.


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  1. I fletcherize my food. Can't chew too much, I always say.

    8 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Read what Mary Roach has to say about Fletcher and his endless chewing in "Gulp-Adventures on the Alimentary Canal".

      1. re: DonShirer

        Is this like counting sheep to fall asleep?

        1. re: Veggo

          i'm pretty sure it is like chewing like sheep.

        2. re: DonShirer

          I did. Just wondering if anyone would catch teh obscure reference.

              1. re: GraydonCarter

                i have received fundraising pleas from the anti-mastication league, but i yet have to fork over any dough.

                i may have to ruminate on that decision, though.

                1. re: alkapal

                  I've contributed to the American Civil Mastication Union a time or two.

        3. Well, I just did pay attention upon seeing this while eating a rice cake with lemon curd. Each bite was chewed twenty-five to thirty times, with the longer chew times a result of more little rice husks in the bite, and the husks are sort of pleasant to chew. The rest of my food? I'd guess I rarely chew anything fewer than ten times (and likely longer) given the food I eat tends to need that. I am also on the slower side of the spectrum of eaters, so that plays in. But really, I just like chewing my food a little longer. It...tastes good.

          1. Six.Then I gulp it down like a labrador. In between bites, less than a minute.Depends if I'm eating with someone.It may take longer.

            1. That would depend on what I'm eating specifically. If I enjoy something...then I try to savor for as long as possible with more chews.. ...If it's something not very interesting to begin with, then not so much.

              Think FOF as opposed to simple steamed fish without aromatics.

                1. My son when he stared going to school came home and started to chew his food a certain number of times. He told me he had learned that he must chew his food that many times. I told him to not worry so much about it but he kept doing it. Eventually he stopped counting his 'chews' but still 'chewed' his food many more times than the rest of us. I'm certain when he ate by himself he counted every 'chew'. Drove me NUTS!

                  1. 28 times. , old habit from macrobiotic days.
                    It is a good tool for me to slow down my too fast eating tendency.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: magiesmom

                      My Dad used to follow a macrobiotic diet, and when I was a kid, he always stressed the importance of "chewing your food up well." I never paid much attention to it and have no idea how many times I chew my food now.

                      1. re: SaraAshley

                        Makes no difference nutritionally (you can conceivably swallow big bites whole and they'll break down effectively in your stomach - although I'd never recommend it), may make a difference in terms of how much you ultimately consume.

                      2. re: magiesmom

                        Does the food turn to mush? That sounds tiring.

                      3. As many times as it takes for me to swallow.

                        5 Replies
                          1. re: SaraAshley

                            I think that overthinking -- or concentrating -- on how many times one chews, or has to chew, detracts from the enjoyment of food.

                            A little vignette. On a flight recently, I was sitting next to a dietitian who insisted that she chew her food a certain number of times (22 if I recall correctly). I had already progressed to my second vanilla sundae before she had even made it through half of her short ribs. By the time the flight attendant came around to ask whether she wanted dessert, we were about to make our initial decent. I asked whether she liked the short ribs (I thought they were quite good for airline food), she said, "kind of chewy." Yeah, no fucking kidding.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Yeah, it's always seemed ridiculous to me to actually count. I think it's definitely good to chew your food and take a little time to enjoy it instead of trying to shove it all down your piehole as fast as you can (my little brother eats like this), but to count? Not enjoyable at all.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                That may have been my sister. She is a dietitian and a devotee of excessive chewing.

                                1. re: tcamp

                                  It's a brute force approach to portion control.

                          2. soft ripened cheese = 3
                            oysters = 4
                            sautéed foie gras =6
                            mac and cheese =7
                            ham and cheese sandwich =9
                            N.Y. strip steak = 13
                            all else falls between 3 and 13, except one ex's roasts that required 16. As I mentioned, ex.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Veggo

                              oysters = 4

                              So you're a chewer, eh? Interesting.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Goodness, way too much oyster flavor is never enjoyed by slurping.

                                1. re: SaraAshley

                                  Fret not - I know when to back off with the toofies!

                              2. Not enough. My grandfather used to claim he chewed each bite 32 times.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: ricepad

                                  No offense to our elders but 32 times just seems like overkill.

                                  Imagine chewing Mapo Tofu 32 times?!

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    Yeah, I always wondered about that claim, too, especially since he did love his tofu, but he's been gone for 35+ years, so I can't ask him about it.

                                    1. re: ricepad

                                      more time on the tastebuds, less on the teeth

                                    2. re: ipsedixit

                                      Mapo tofu -- I could really go for some now....

                                  2. The scientists would tut-tut over my chewing. I'm afraid I tend to gulp food down more than I should. This phenomenon is most pronounced--surprise, surprise--when the food is particularly delicious and when I'm especially ravenous.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                      Slow it down, PK! A nice meal needs a little foreplay and is not a game of beat the clock!
                                      Go munch a habanero....:)

                                      1. re: Veggo

                                        What is ironic is that I just munch on 1/2 a habanero at dinner...my wife had the other 1/2. Green and quite warm...but very tasty.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          What can I tell ya', Veggo? I'm really just a humble barbarian in emperor's garb.

                                      2. The perfect number of times.

                                        1. All I can say is I chew soft foods few times than harder/chewier foods...the BF, on the other hand chews more than I do; I always finish eating before he does. I think he told me that once he almost choked from not chewing his food enough so now he goes overboard.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Cherylptw

                                            Be sure you know the Hemlock maneuver.

                                            1. re: Veggo

                                              "Hemlock maneuver," ha.

                                              Sometimes people just aren't quick enough to carry out that final exit and you have to do it for them.

                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                “How’s it coming along, Doctor Heimlich?”

                                                “Well, not very well at the moment. It’s... not really a maneuver at the moment. It’s more of a gesture.”

                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                  a gesture of ultimate meaning, however.

                                            2. Clifton Webb as Mr. Belvedere in Sitting Pretty said 28 times.

                                              I chew maybe 4-6 depending.

                                              1. I reckon that carefully counting the number of chews greatly enhances the dining experience.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: beevod

                                                  And of course the average number of bites per meal is 34, the average chews per bite is 12, and it's always exciting to see whether you are over or under that magic 408 total, and share it with the dinner guests you are with, probably for the last time....

                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                    The real key is to get a kindly soul to chew your food for you, thus enabling you to better concentrate on the flatware.

                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                      That's why I never leave home without my chewometer.

                                                    2. re: beevod

                                                      i'd suggest alternatively that carefully counting the number of chews dulls the dining experience, leading one down the path to madness.

                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                        "Hey doc, how many times do I chew this Thorazine?"

                                                      2. I counted once years ago and failed miserably as I chew as few times as possible. Hey it's expending energy I can use on something else.

                                                        1. I'm a chewer. Never counted, but 10 sounds plausible, depending on what I'm eating.

                                                          1. 4-6 on many things
                                                            10 would be for a thick steak.
                                                            I definitely under chew, a bad habit from college days when I had 30 minutes to get from one end of campus to the other and squeeze lunch in that same 30 minutes. yes, many many years ago - nothing has since persuaded me to go back to multiple chews.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                              Interesting to hear here how people choose chews.

                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                veggo, you should let everyone know that you have a reticulated jaw and do no chewing at all when you are at katz's deli.

                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                  Cool! Your original artwork is prominently displayed on my fridge, securely attached with my 7 Wash Post Style Invitational magnets!

                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                    heheh, must be getting a wee bit of weathering on the edges.

                                                                    i'm honored (making a deep, theatrical, diva-esque curtsey).

                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                      To clarify, magnets are for losing, not winning....!
                                                                      But I have the edges covered. Pristine, archive quality.

                                                                2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                  I actually paid attention to how much I chewed at lunchtime today. it was leftover beef stew, so did require some chewing. Most bites it was between 14-20 chews - far more than I estimated. Some bites of especially tender pieces were more in the 6-8 chew category. Ice cream for dessert - 3-4 chews per bite.