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I hear so many people on OH aski ...

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:41pm

I hear so many people on OH asking if "chewing and spitting" is alright. Basically, instead of actually eating bad food, they want to know if they can chew it up to get the taste of it, then spit it out so it doesn't go into the stomach pouch. There was a recent thread on OH with this question and I posted an answer. Since I'm lazy and don't like to type stuff over and over again, I figured I'd post it here too.

There are two issues with this. First, this behavior is the first steps of bulemia and getting into the habit of chewing food and spitting it out can lead to a very serious eating disorder. After WLS we are already dealing with changing the way we relate to food, so we want to instill good habits all along the way and avoid the bad ones as much as possible.

Second, there's a biological reason not to do this too.

Let me see if I can explain it as well as someone else who I originally read it from...When you smell food and when it enters your mouth and you begin to chew, the body goes into Prep Mode to receive food. Your salivary glands produce saliva, your pancreas produces insulin, your liver produces gastric acid and your brain begins to calculate how much nutrition you're about to receive from the food you eat so it can keep track of it's daily needs/calories --- the body is a well tuned machine and it knows how to deal with food when it knows it's coming.

But then you spit out the food. Your body still has excess saliva, insulin, gastric acid and it can't figure out why it didn't get the nutrition it thought it was going to get so the brain accountants go nuts. Excess insulin in your body causes your appetite to increase so you'll eat more food to soak up all that extra hormone. Excess gastric acid in the stomach -- now released at the Y of your common channel -- can cause indigestion or heartburn or ulcers.

And those brain accountants are now doing some creative math to recalculate the nutritional value of food because it thought it was going to get a certain number of calories, but none came, so next time you try to eat that same food the brain thinks you need twice as much to get the same nutrition as it thought it should have gotten last time.

So not only is the whole "chew and spit" habit a training ground for bulemia, it's also a way to tease your body into thinking it's getting food when it really isn't.

Bulemia is a very serious illness and not something you want to play around with. My cousin Teresa died from heart failure brought on by her illness of bulemia. I don't ever want a family to live through what we had to in losing a loved one so young to a disease that can be treated. Please be careful. Be kind to yourself.


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