Japan gov't: Chew food 30 times

Oct. 31, 2009 at 3:00 PM
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TOKYO, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Japanese officials are advocating century-old advice to chew your food at least 30 times before swallowing as a key to good health.

The country's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is proposing to make the "30 chews" idea the centerpiece of a public relations campaign meant to convey the benefits of thoroughly chewed food promoted in both children and adults, the Kyodo news service reported Saturday.

A ministry group led by Yoshiharu Mukai, professor in the dentistry department at Showa University in Tokyo, wants to use the "Japlish" catch-phrase "Ka-min-gu 30" to promote the idea, the news service said.

Mukai told Kyodo scientific studies prove that infants who chew a variety of foodstuffs 20 to 30 times swallow safely, and that it accelerates child tooth growth. In adults, thorough chewing can help fight obesity, enables people to enjoy delicate flavors and makes digestion easier.

"If you chew your food 30 times, you can savor a meal and ensure safety," Mukai said.

Horace Fletcher, a U.S diet reformer, said in 1903 that chewing food 32 times would help cut down on overeating, reasoning that the longer you chew, the less you eat.

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