Let's turn on our science fiction mind and predict the daily routine of a human being a hundred years from now: Imagine a futuristic human, in his thirties, getting ready for bed. After taking a shower, he reaches into his mouth and pulls his perfect white dentures out. Wait, what?!
In this new era, liquid foods and products like protein shakes are now the norm, as is getting rid of your real teeth. As "normal eating" requires less chewing, it’s a logical choice to use a perfect white denture for appearance (but less chewing power). With false teeth, this futuristic human can replace his teeth whenever he wants and say bye bye to recurring fees at the dentist...
Mmmmm...Back to reality, we’re certainly not digging this delirium!
Okay, maybe we're being a little too futuristic here. Or maybe not?!
Liquid foods are now becoming more and more popular, we’re starting to freak out about the future of human evolution!
Five reasons why chewing is soooo important:
1. Improves oral hygiene.
The more you chew, the more you create saliva (1). That saliva is perfect for maintaining good oral health, as it contains good bacterias that fight bad breath while also helping clean your mouth from food particles (2). You produce approximately 1 to 2 liters of saliva per day, all of which is essential for healthy oral hygiene. Less masticating, less saliva.
2. Enhances your digestion.
When you chew, you signal to your body that food is coming, and it reacts by creating enzymes and other particles that help digest food. Our teeth and tongue act as a food processor, along with the help of saliva, and they work together to break down food, which will then improve later digestion in your stomach (3). On the other hand, less mastication means less of the job is done to enhance digestive processes.
2. Makes you eat more nutritious food.
If you're a chewer, that means you're probably eating healthier (4). Why? Because foods that require chewing naturally tend to contain more fiber, which is beneficial to your health. This means that by design, mastication opens the door to whole foods and more natural and unprocessed ingredients. Sure, you can find vitamins and minerals in liquid foods, but the natural food matrix is already pretty well engineered by nature. You don't have to break it down to create liquid foods! Also, these tend to contain more processed ingredients and synthetic vitamins and minerals to improve texture and be addable to a liquid base. Quite a bummer!
4. May help with weight management.
When you chew, you’re sending feedback that something is coming to your digestive system, but did you know that you also communicate this information to your mind? Your brain understands that you are refueling, so it stops sending you hunger signals. When you chew, your mind has more time to send this signal than when you drink calories directly (i.e. eating more rapidly), which may help you manage your weight (5). You’re eating more mindfully when you’re chewing, so you have less chance of overeating.
5. You actually taste MORE what you eat.
Spoiler alert: taste buds are located in the mouth. When you chew your food, you allow these little buds to do their job: taste the food! When you drink your food, they barely have time to meet and greet what passes through your mouth. Chewing allows you to experience the shape or texture of your meal, which makes you more aware of the taste of food (6).
While we might have traumatized you with this denture opening story, we wanted to make a point. We simply don’t believe that liquid foods should become the new norm in the future. Whole foods have so many benefits for your health and we strongly believe in the power of complex food matrix and unprocessed raw ingredients. We’re proud advocates for chewing - and thus for real and natural ingredients!
(1) Miller, K. (2019, October 10). Saliva and Your Mouth. Web MD. Saliva and Your Mouth: Function of Saliva in Oral Health
(2) Tiwari, M. (2011). Science behind human saliva. Journal of natural science, biology, and medicine, 2(1), 53. Science behind human saliva
(3) Canadian Society of Intestinal Research (2012), Saliva: More than just Drool, Bad Gut, Saliva: More than just Drool - Gastrointestinal Society
(4) Lee, I. C., Yang, Y. H., Ho, P. S., & Lee, I. C. (2014). Chewing ability, nutritional status and quality of life. Journal of oral rehabilitation, 41(2), 79-86. Chewing ability, nutritional status and quality of life
(5) Zelman, Kathleen M. (2005). Crunch! Chew Your Way to Healthier Eating. WebMD. Crunch! Chew Your Way to Healthier Eating
(6) Liu, D., Deng, Y., Sha, L., Hashem, M. A., & Gai, S. (2017). Impact of oral processing on texture attributes and taste perception. Journal of food science and technology, 54(8), 2585-2593. Impact of oral processing on texture attributes and taste perception