On chewing yourself slim, and why Theresa May’s carb fest has doomed us all

It pains me to say this, but there is often a grain of truth buried deep within some of the more ludicrous tabloid headlines. Not usually renowned for its factual fastidiousness, the Daily Express caught my eye on Tuesday 11th with the headline ‘Food for thought: Chewing more is the trick for staying slim and healthy.’


The Daily Express found it helpful to disclose that Samantha Cameron (so last year, so who cares) chews each mouthful of food up to 40 times before swallowing. She does this in line with the dietary dictates of an Austrian health clinic called the Mayr.


On further investigation, this clinic turns out to be a fabulous money-spinning outfit that enables its wealthy clients to shed huge amounts of weight by feeding them a meager diet for the duration of their stay. Genius. But I digress.


Because here’s the thing: the Express does have a point. Now, don’t see this as a shameless opportunity to promote my book, The Body Clock Diet, but in said book I devote a section to the research which has shown that chewing each mouthful of food at least 40 times significantly reduces levels of the hormone ghrelin, and increases levels of CCK. Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and tells the brain you are hungry; CCK is produced in the gut and tells the brain you are full. The result of all this chewing is, therefore, less hunger. Extraordinary – The Daily Express, entirely by coincidence, one suspects, has succeeded in getting their facts rights.


Perhaps they should stick to health reporting, and ditch their Diana conspiracies and end-of-world weather stories. The above was not a one-off. They also picked up on the headline Fish boost for pregnant women: eating oily fish could protect babies against schizophrenia. This was in reference to a recently published study suggesting that deficiency, during pregnancy, of the fatty acids in oily fish can be damaging to the mental health of the child later in life. This, seriously, is true. Just the other day I was doing some research on the very same subject (for the purposes of my next book, just so you know), and read earlier studies which found the exact same thing.


I’m in danger of warming to the Daily Express. I’m not so sure about the Daily Mail, though. Their headline Men with obese wives are at greater risk of diabetes certainly caught my eye, as was surely intended. A new study has found a link between a middle-aged woman’s weight and her husband’s health. Strangely, it doesn’t work the other way round. To wit: a fat wife is to blame for her husband’s diabetes. A fat husband is just that.


Cue lots of Les Dawson. Still, there was a proper study behind all this, with various theories propounded to explain these interesting findings. My favourite came from the National Obesity Forum, who opined that a woman ‘frets about a socially embarrassing increase in dress size and that does the trick. Dress size is not uppermost in a man’s mind’.


And they say that humans are still evolving.


And so to Theresa May’s domestic arrangements. The Guardian merrily dissected what they headlined as Theresa May’s Dismal Menu. Apparently, the prime minister served up chicken lasagne with potatoes at a top brass meeting in Chequers in February. The point of this meeting was to discuss the forthcoming election strategy, and we all know how that turned out. A bloody disaster, for Theresa, just like the appalling combo of chicken in a lasagne – served with potatoes. I ask you.


No wonder the general election was a shambles. Such an overload of carbs would certainly have addled their brains, leading to confused thinking and rash decisions. The legendary 19th century gastronome, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, warned presciently in his book, The Physiology of Taste, that The destiny of nations depends upon the manner in which they feed themselves. Leaving aside the lack of culinary refinement, not to mention cultural insensitivity (apologies to the whole of Italy), if that’s how Theresa feeds the great and the good of this nation, we are all doomed.


Have a great weekend!


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