Does your body burn more calories processing less-chewed food?

Does the human body use more energy to process food that has been less chewed up? I can see it both ways: it seems like it would since it has more processing to do if there are large chunks of food sitting in your stomach. On the other hand, perhaps the additional energy used to process large chunks of food is equal to the energy your mouth would have used to chew the food properly in the first place. What’s the straight dope?

That is probably correct. There is no free lunch, so to speak. But, even if there is a difference, about 10% of your calories are used for digestion (several sources on the web, although for all I know they are all referencing one another and there’s no original source), some percentage of that is used just for chewing or otherwise mechanically breaking up the food, and so the difference between “chewing” and “otherwise” is probably very small, if any at all.

It’s probably too small to accurately measure.

Just sitting doing nothing burns about 200 calories per hour, or 3 1/3 calories a minute. Even something as physical as tennis only doubles that number so mere chewing would be negligible. You actively chew food for just a few minutes during a meal and that probably costs a minuscule number of additional calories. And the vast majority of mechanical food breakdown is always done in the stomach rather than the mouth.

I doubt if there is a whole calorie’s worth of difference in not chewing your food.

That seems rather high, about twice the number I normally see quoted. Where’s this number come from?

On the other hand, choking to death will reduce your basal metabolic rate to zero very quickly.

Calories Burned During Exercise. It is weight dependent, which is why I used a middle, average, approximate number from that list.

If you assume the lower number then any difference is even smaller, so 200 gives a maximum for the effect.

Right…if sitting doing nothing means that you burn 200 calories an hour, that would mean daily minimum caloric requirement would be 4800 calories a day. In reality, it’s closer to 2000.

I see “playing with children in there” with the sitting. That website also says Walking 2 mph burns off about 200 calories.

Here’s on for sitting-reading that clocks in at 88 calories/hr, which is more inline with the numbers I know.

Same site for sitting and watching TV is 68 calories per hour.

A different website has 72 calories per hour for watchiing TV for a 150-lb person.