Men and woman have some obvious differences along with a few less obvious ones. Men are built stronger than women, women are better at multi-tasking and micro-managing while men are better with cars and driving (though this is debatable). All of them lend credibility to the popular mantra - 'men are from Mars and women are from Venus'.
A new study published in the January 2015 edition of 'Physiology & Behavior' that talks about the sexes' manner of chewing also goes to show how men and women are wired differently. If you're a woman and have sat across a man wondering how he's almost done with his meal while you're not even half way through, then science has some news for you.
Korean researchers Soojin Park and Weon-Sun Shin decided to explore these everyday remarkable differences and study exactly how the chewing patterns of men and women are different. Researchers enlisted 24 male and 24 female undergraduates from Semyung University in South Korea. In an attempt to analyse the chewing patterns of both the sexes', researchers attached electrodes to their jaw muscles and fed them 152 grams of boiled white rice each.
This experiment allowed them to record muscle activity, bite size, food ingested per minute (in grams), chews every mouthful, total chewing time and total meal duration. They found considerable differences between men and women. Typically, men take larger bites and have more 'chewing power' which implies that they eat quicker than women. When women had the same chewing pace as men it was found that women chewed more with each bite, thereby taking more time to eat their meal.
The study found that 'bites and chew thoroughly with a weaker chewing power than males, while they consume the same amount of staple food'.
Chewing is the first step in digestion and allows enzymes in the food to break down at a reasonable pace. People need to chew at a decent speed that allows all the food to break down and pass to the digestive system and be completely absorbed. An earlier study conducted at the Nippon Dental University's Department of Partial and Complete Denture, in Tokyo found no difference in how the sexes chewed gum.
Usually, it is believed that if you don't breakdown your food properly, then you might be prone to extreme weight-gain. But Park and Shin's study has shed almost no light on the relationship between chewing and weight-gain. However, the study did state that obese men swallowed their food after a few bites whereas the non-obese men were slower in comparison. The reverse was true in women.
In the past, many studies and researchers have advocated eating slow. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow also advocates chewing slowly as it helps us eat less at the dining table. Reducing the speed at which you eat can modulate energy intake as well as habitual eating behavior and control of body weight, particularly in males.
'The modulation of eating behavior through chewing can be used as specific feedback to normalize food intake and, thus, normalize body weight'.