(NaturalNews) Americans are eating more and gaining weight with rapid speed, and many people have theories about why this is, but the truth could very well be that in an effort to sell more food and make more money, manufacturers have designed their food to go down quicker so you can put more in your mouth. People in the U.S. used to chew their bites of food up to 25 times before swallowing it, yet today people chew bites as few of 10 times. Less chewing, means more swallowing, which ultimately means more food goes down the hole. This reduction in chewing is not because Americans are living faster-paced lives or are particularly full of vigor and devour their food quickly to replenish all the calories they burn being so active all day. People in the U.S. get less physical activity than they used to. They are chewing less because the food is designed to make them chew less.
It takes the brain about 20 minutes to register that food has been consumed and digested. Until then, you do not feel satisfied even though there is food in your stomach. It is not until hormones like cholecystokinin and leptin released during digestion alert your brain that there is food in the body that you start to lose that hungry feeling. Since people may now swallow 2.5 times as many bites than when they chewed more, it is no wonder people are gaining weight.
Food meant to stimulate, not fill you up
The typical American diet is full of processed foods that are designed to overpower you with strong tastes. The foods today are heavily processed, which removes components like fiber and gristle that are harder to chew. They are also full of fat and oils. Fat is lubricating and people are eating 63 percent more of the junk than they were three decades ago. Combine the excess food processing with the high amounts of fat in food and you get adult baby food that easily melts in your mouth and practically slides down your throat.
American food manufactures are capitalizing off people's biological desire for fat and sugar to fatten you up and sell more cheap, unhealthy food. Back in the agricultural days, people consumed very little fat and only small amounts of sugar, mainly from fruit. Since the body does need some fat to survive and fat wasn't readily available, this could be why people have more than 300 olfactory receptors that identify smells linked to fats. It could explain why people prefer sweet foods as well. In our modern world, we have more than enough food but biologically our bodies do not know that and will respond to fatty, sugary foods like our lives depend upon eating them.
The answer to the dilemma is to both eat whole foods and eat more slowly. Whole foods are of course healthier for you as they are lower in calories and contain actual nutrients. Eating whole, unprocessed foods also makes you chew more because they need to be broken down before you can swallow them. Count how many times you chew a few bites to make sure you are chewing thoroughly and avoid distractions like television.
If you find it really hard to slow down, try holding your spoon or fork with your non-dominant hand and use a small utensil. If that does not work, there are always chopsticks.
About the author: Sarka-Jonae Miller is a published novelist and MARSocial Author of the Year runner-up. She's also a former personal trainer and massage therapist. SJ's published work includes the #3 bestseller "Between Boyfriends" and the just released sequel"Between the Sheets". The chick lit series was recently featured in the San Diego Reader, the largest alternative newsweekly in the United States.