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Chewing more helps people eat less, study says

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(CBS) Here's something to chew on next time you sit down to eat. A new study suggests chewing food more often can help people control their weight.

"Eating quickly, gorging and binge eating have a substantial effect on being overweight," study author Dr. Jie Li, a researcher at Harbin Medical University in China, told The Daily Mail.

For the study, published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Li's team of Chinese researchers enlisted 30 young men, 14 who were obese, and 16 who were skinny. First in a baseline study, the researchers looked at whether obese men chewed differently than their skinny counterparts, and found fat guys ingested food faster and took fewer chews.

"Our results showed obese participants chewed less and ingested more quickly than lean ones." Li told The Daily Mail.

Next, the researchers fed the guys a carb-heavy meal and asked them to chew it either 15 or 40 times per bite. They found the thorough chewers ingested nearly 12 percent less calories, regardless of if their weight.

How? According to the researchers, more chewing lowered levels of an appetite-stimulating hormone called ghrelin and increased levels of an appetite-suppressing cholecystokinin. These hormones "tell the brain when to begin to eat and when to stop eating," study co-author Dr. Shuran Wang told Reuters.

Can people really chew their way to weight loss?

"I am not sure that this is a viable obesity prevention measure." Dr. Adam Drewnowski, director of the University of Washington Center for Obesity Research in Seattle who was not involved in the study told Reuters.

"I suppose that if you chew each bite of food 100 times or more you may end up eating less."