Eating crunchier foods could be the secret to losing weight, study suggests
- The study found that people consumed 26% fewer calories if their lunch was crunchy
The secret to losing weight may be as simple as choosing crunchier foods.
According to one study's findings, we eat up to half as fast if we have to chew more – and we can also feel full faster because we consume a fifth less.
Researchers gave 50 people four similar lunches: two classified as ultra-processed and two that were minimally processed.
Importantly, one meal in each category was harder and crunchier, making it more difficult to eat quickly, while the other was easier to consume.
The study found that people consumed 26 percent fewer calories when lunch had a harder texture, largely regardless of the amount of processing, because these meals couldn't be eaten as quickly.
The lowest average calorie intake in the study, of 483 calories, came when people ate the hard, minimally processed meal (stock photo)
Tougher meals included boiled rice instead of soft mashed potatoes, a crunchy salad instead of coleslaw, and a chewy chicken breast instead of fish bites.
Other features included a hard, fresh apple instead of soft canned mangoes and thick, unflavored yogurt instead of a flavored yogurt drink, as well as a lumpy tomato salsa instead of tartar sauce.
The lunches contained the same amount of calories and were rated similarly based on how good they tasted.
But people consumed fewer calories — about 300 fewer calories — from the harder, crunchier lunches because they ate less of them.
It appears they ate less because they had to chew more before swallowing, slowing the overall rate at which the meal was consumed by half.
The researchers believe that eating more slowly gives the body a better ability to keep track of the amount of food consumed, so a person is more likely to realize when they are full and stop eating.
Professor Ciarán Forde, senior author of the study from Wageningen University, said: 'We now have more than a decade of evidence that people choosing textures that encourage them to eat more slowly, such as crunchier, harder or chewier foods, can help them consume fewer calories, while still feeling satisfied.
'What's attractive about using meal textures to change behavior and intake is that people can still enjoy eating the foods they like, while reducing the risk of overconsumption.
'It means people can still enjoy a meal and eat until they are comfortably full without feeling restricted.'
The researchers believe that eating more slowly gives the body a better ability to keep track of the amount of food consumed (stock photo)
Among the other features were a hard, fresh apple instead of soft canned mangoes and thick, unflavored yogurt instead of a flavored yogurt drink, as well as a lumpy tomato salsa instead of tartar sauce (stock photo)
The lowest average calorie intake in the study, of 483 calories, came when people ate the hard, minimally processed meal and the highest intake, of an average of 790 calories, came from the soft, ultra-processed meal.
The research team previously studied the different aspects of food texture related to eating speed and found that even a simple carrot can be eaten about three times slower if it is cut into larger, thicker segments without mayonnaise to spread it. during consumption.
To build on the current findings, the researchers – whose findings have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – will next look at whether meal texture and eating speed can influence calorie intake over a longer period of two weeks.
They want to demonstrate for the first time that not only what you eat, but also the way you eat can determine the size of your meal.