Thursday, February 12, 2015

Slow eating vs fast eating-Men vs women!

The question as to whether man and women are made equal can be a risky thing these days, especially when women organizations are fighting to recognize they are equal in all respects. To a great extent they are right if we see the new heights women have scaled in their daily life with very few so called man-bastions remaining to be conquered. In almost all fields of human endeavor women have achieved equally or better than men making gender discrimination no more an issue. Against such a background, one is amazed by a report from Korea that there is a difference in the eating dynamics between men and women which has apparently the backing of science. According to this report men invariably eat faster than women because of the physical differences in their respective food eating systems. How far this can be generalized is a question that may occupy center stage in coming days. Here are further details about the research and its interpretation.

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'.

The above findings raise a larger question whether women are more prone to body weight gain from a given amount of food compared their male counterparts? After all the utilization of food nutrients depend to a significant extent on how thoroughly the food is chewed and digested and naturally more chewing helps greater maceration of food ingested followed by more efficient release and absorption of the nutrients present in it across the intestine. Whether slower eating will create satiety with lesser food, is not answered by the above study as transfer of glucose from the food to the blood decides the time of satiety message from the brain. Thus the above study raises more questions than providing answers to other related areas. Though these studies are interesting by themselves, we have certainly not seen the end of this debate about eating equality between the genders as more studies are bound to follow in the coming days!


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