Editorial: Chewing Raises Blood Sugar

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Should I be worried? The “so-what” to research results from 2013.

There are hundreds of millions so people suffering from Diabetes type 2 around the globe (if not more). This disease is caused by an inability to properly process sugar from the blood. Normally, insulin signals our cells to pull sugar from our blood when the levels get high, but in diabetes, the signal does not work as well so blood sugars rise. It would make sense that any rise in blood sugar would be disastrous to this disease process.

I was inspired to write this after a recent internet search. I recently uncovered a web post on blood sugar and chewing that reviewed research on the effect of chewing rice on the glycemic index. The post is as follows:

Chewing rice 30 times before swallowing it raised blood sugar much higher than chewing rice 15 times (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online November 13, 2013)​[1]​.
• Glucose Response was raised from 155 to 184mmol/min/l
• Peak Glycemic Index: 2.4 to 2.8mmol/l, and
• Glycemic Index: 68 to 88.

The more you chew your food up, the more quickly the food gets broken down into sugars in your intestines, so your blood sugar rises higher after you eat. Anything that breaks up large particles of food into tiny particles or liquids causes a higher rise in blood sugar. Other studies show that the higher the blood sugar rises, the more weight you gain, the more likely you are to develop diabetes, and the more likely you are to suffer cell damage and premature death.

This is all true but the rise in blood sugar caused by chewing rice is almost insignificant (A rise of 0.4 mmol/l is 0.04 mmol/dl or 0.7 grams of sugar per liter). It is very short-lived and very small in most people and the risk of eating more because you are still hungry is even greater than the slow damage caused by this insignificant rise in blood sugar. A bigger risk is that you will choke on unchewed food. Wow, instant death versus a national slow death. I know which one I would choose.

The bottom line: The more you chew food, the more full you feel. This glucose raise by chewing is nto a reason to stop chewing. The change in blood sugar is short-lived and any reduction in blood sugar spikes will do nto good if you eat more because you are hungry longer. Also, what good is a lower blood sugar is that you choke and die – chew away and enjoy you food.


  1. [1]
    V. Ranawana, M. K.-S. Leow, and C. J. K. Henry, “Mastication effects on the glycaemic index: impact on variability and practical implications,” Eur J Clin Nutr, pp. 137–139, Nov. 2013, doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.231. [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2013.231
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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