Learning How To Eat

For years, many people have expressed envy at my ability to maintain a healthy weight. What amazes most people is the fact that I seem to eat quite a bit and it doesn't seem to matter what I eat. I just don't seem to gain weight. My own father once said, "Just wait until you hit 50. Then everything will change." Well, I'm 56 and things haven't changed yet. So, what's my 'secret'?

In a nutshell, I'd say that my secret is that I understand the digestive process. More simply put, I know how to eat. To most people that sounds rather absurd since everyone knows how to eat. But do they? In a survey I conducted over a one year period of time, I found out that less than 10% of the people I surveyed understood that the digestive process begins in the mouth. And of that 10%, more than half thought that the primary function of chewing food was to make it easier to swallow. Only 2% of the people I surveyed actually knew that the act of chewing stimulates the salivary glands which produce the enzymes required for the first, and most important step in the digestive process. For it is the enzymes in the salivary glands that begin to break down the fat found in most of the foods we eat.

Making matters even worse, most people eat way too fast. I found that the average person will chew on a bite of food no more than five times before swallowing. A large percentage of people only chew three times on a bite. Besides the fact that inadequate chewing means that an insufficient amount of enzymes get into the food, such eating habits typically lead to indigestion, heartburn, and obesity. Why? Most simply put, the human body wasn't designed to digest 'chunks' of food. It was designed to digest well masticated, properly balanced 'mush'. As a result of feeding the stomach 'chunks' of poorly masticated of food, the stomach reacts by supplying more acid, in a vane attempt to break the chunks down and prepare them for the intestines.

Understand this; Unless food is properly prepared by the mouth and stomach before reaching the intestines, the intestines cannot do their job properly. However, the sad fact is that the excess acids in the stomach make it very easy for the intestines to absorb fat. So, while all the good nutrients are going, so to speak, 'down the tubes' and 'out the door', the fat is getting sucked into the system like a sponge.

So, lesson number one is "Chew your food well". Chew on each and every bite until it is mush or liquid. Don't swallow 'chunks' of anything. Give the salivary glands a chance to do their job.

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