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Body + BrainBody & Brain

How Many Times Should You Chew Your Food?

ByTim De ChantNOVA NextNOVA Next

Mary Roach:

There is a point at which efficiency crosses over into lunacy, and the savings in money or resources cease to be worthwhile in light of the price paid in other ways. Horace Fletcher, the self-dubbed economic nutritionist, danced around that point his whole career. What amazes me is the degree to which he was taken seriously. Fletcher was the instigator of a fad for extremely thorough chewing. We are not talking about British Prime Minister William Gladstone’s 32 chews per bite. We are talking about this: “One-fifth of an ounce of the midway section of the young garden onion, sometimes called ‘challot,’ has required 722 mastications before disappearing through involuntary swallowing.”

Let’s just say that estimate is at the high end.