Weight Loss Support - Chewing food then spitting it out?

08-27-2012, 12:26 AM
Okay, before you get all crazy and think I'm doing this on a consistent basis, I'm not. Today, I baked brownies for my husband's buddy because he fixed my brakes on my car for me for free. When I got home, I grabbed a small piece of a brownie, chewed it up, then spit it out (gross, I know). I really just wanted the taste. My husband saw me do this and got immediately concerned. I told him it wasn't a big deal. This is honestly the first time I've ever done this, I really just didn't want all the calories. Big deal or no?

Mer du Japon
08-27-2012, 12:47 AM
This practice is seen sometimes in people who have eating disorders. Some even consider it an eating disorder. Google "chewing and spitting food".

As a social worker, I have seen clients with various eating disorders engage in this activity, so I can see why your husband was concerned.

08-27-2012, 12:49 AM
I don't know if it's something to be concerned with. If you are doing it all the time, then I would say, yeah it might be a problem. But, you're not. You got the little taste you wanted. I know several people (myself included) who have done it a few times. Did it make me want to binge or throw up? No. It actually curbed binges in the past because I got the taste of what I really wanted. I can count on one hand how many times I did it in the past decade. Don't let it become routine and you'll probably be just fine.

Mer du Japon
08-27-2012, 01:05 AM
I should clarify that I wasn't saying you have an eating disorder or are at risk of one-only that chewing and spitting is a behavior seen in eating disorders.

08-27-2012, 01:44 AM
ERK! I learn something new every day. I never would have associated the practice with an eating disorder.

I don't know anything official or medical, but I am smiling because I think you are doing what all the rest of us do - trying to think of creative ways to enjoy treats.

Arctic Mama
08-27-2012, 02:28 AM
That is not healthy food behavior, don't go there! If it was truly a one-off, might I suggest next time waiting until you are either hungry and eating a bite fully, or just smelling the brownies and being satisfied with that? Even the desire to chew a food but then expel it signals a relationship with food that isn't balanced (that you are better off just getting the taste and spitting it out than consuming one bite - as though the one bite were forbidden/dangerous/intolerable/etc).

And the problem with behaviors like this, or purging after a big meal, is that once the behavior has been enacted with no perceived negative side effects, it becomes easier to justify it again in the future. That's a bad road to go down, even if it seems harmless and justifiable right now.

Next time - either eat the brownie bite or abstain. Either is a perfectly sensible option. Halfway between the two is not. A single, decent sized bite of even incredibly rich brownies is not going to be more than 50 calories. Moralizing 50 calories as bad or too much isn't a good mindset to get in, especially as an infrequent choice of food.

08-27-2012, 03:17 AM
You've written that it was a calculated one-time thing, so no, personally I don't think it's a huge deal. Would it be better for you to find a different way of indulging or abstaining? Sure. Otherwise what a waste of a perfectly good brownie!

08-27-2012, 04:26 AM
I totally get where you're coming from, but if someone I cared did that it would definitely set off alarm bells. In my honest opinion, you say you wanted the taste without the calories - but I don't think it's a particularly healthy way to go about it. That kinda food comes with the calories, incorporate it into your eating or don't. If you justify it as being ok, it might slip into your thoughts every so often and you'll create an unhealthy association with certain foods.

08-27-2012, 05:20 AM
I'll second that. It happened once, OK, but it's one of those slippery slopes towards eating disorders. Better not start considering it as a viable option. It could also lead to worse.

08-27-2012, 06:08 AM
As somewhat of an aside to the ED discussion; Your body also begins digesting food in your mouth, so even though you chewed and spit it out, you DID absorb at least a good portion of those calories that you had intended to avoid.

08-27-2012, 09:22 AM
I did this a couple times when I was first changing the kinds of foods I eat. It was more of a 'I changed my mind, I don't want to eat this junk anymore' type deal though, so then I spit it out. As long as you don't keep doing it, I don't see this being a big deal.

ETA...have you tried Extra dessert gums? So yummy and you get that taste of dessert in your mouth. My favorite is rootbeer float and mint chocolate chip icecream. :-)

Beach Patrol
08-27-2012, 10:17 AM
I'll second that. It happened once, OK, but it's one of those slippery slopes towards eating disorders. Better not start considering it as a viable option. It could also lead to worse.


and on that note, I'll add that I myself, in the past, have done a great many stupid, unhealthy things in the name of weight loss. A lot of us have. (of course in my case, spitting out food is a usual sign that I don't like what just went past my lips!) But there comes a time when you realize that to lose weight & keep it off AND to be healthy while doing it, you just have to commit to the good old fashioned diet/exercise thing. There are MANY ways to do it! - you can find one that's right for you.

08-27-2012, 10:37 AM
As others have said, it's a slippery slope and be careful.

08-27-2012, 10:40 AM
I just want to say that if you go a really long time without sugary sweets you will eventually quit craving them, and the taste of them would actually be too sweet for you. At that point if you did take a bite of that brownie you wouldn't want the rest of it. This happened with me and bread. I am not supposed to eat much bread because I'm type II diabetic, but I love bread. I dream of making a loaf of home-made bread and eating the whole thing still warm from the oven with a stick of butter. About a month ago I quit eating bread altogether. It was hard at first, especially when we ate out and they brought that wonderful bread or rolls to the table. But now I am at the point where I just don't think about it anymore. I do know that if I indulge I will probably start the cravings all over again.

Having said that, I don't think eating one brownie would make that big of a difference with your weight loss. You can always balance out the calories somewhere else and as long as you are in control and don't inhale the whole pan of brownies it's OK. Or, you could set the brownie aside for 30 minutes, and then if you still want it, eat it, enjoy it, and go on with your day. This whole weight loss journey is about moderation, and a plan that you can live with the rest of your life.

08-27-2012, 11:04 AM
I had no idea it was eating disorder related. I don't do that particularly, but sometimes I will eat a piece of pasta I'm making for the family to make sure it's done..usually I don't spit it out (I figure one freaking penne isn't going to ruin my goals once a month), but I have. I can't imagine doing it for the "taste" would be "calorie free" because you did chew some of it.

08-27-2012, 11:24 AM
Everyone else said it.. and I wouldn't continue with the behaviour, even if youre one of those people who do it rarely. What if you're not?

If you want a tiny bite of the brownie, then go for it.. but eat it.

08-27-2012, 11:27 AM
As someone who's suffered with eating disorders in the past and spent time in treatment I'd just like to say that this is classic disordered eating behavior and something I used to do very often. Fine if it was just a one time thing for you and you never ever plan on doing it again, but it truly is a slippery slope. Its so easy to do and just like with other ED associated practices can become very obsessive. Its such a dangerous line to toe, so I'd strongly urge you to not test the limits because this kind of behavior has a way of sucking you in quickly.

08-27-2012, 11:47 AM
I've had the odd occasion where I spat something out because I changed my mind about eating it but I have never said "I am going to chew this and spit it out". As everyone else has said, I would stop it before it becomes a problem. It is taking one unhealthy relationship with food and turning it into another unhealthy relationship with food.

08-27-2012, 02:46 PM
Don't do it! As others have said, its a slippery slope. And it can change the way you look at foods in the occasional treat category for the worse.

Plus you are probably swallowing much more of it than you might think.

I say either eat a brownie, enjoy each morsel, and make it a part of your plan for the day or week without any guilt or don't eat it at all. Anything else could potentially take you places that you don't want to go.

08-27-2012, 05:14 PM

This is how i started out having an ED.. it started with closet eating and spitting food out..I stored bags and bags of food i had chewed and spit out and hid in my closet from my parents so they wouldnt know..then it graduated to binging and purging..

My dear...while it might be a "easy way to cheat your diet"...its not.. It provokes negative habits and negative thoughts...AND... you do digest some of those calories because your saliva begins the breakdown of carbohydrates in your mouth first..so your getting the refined calorie content...

Your better off eating a small brownie once a week... and then being good the rest of the week...or finding a middle ground..but this isnt it.

08-27-2012, 06:46 PM
I have mixed feelings about doing that- I think unless you having the eating disorder mindset spitting out food can be a slippery slope. But if you have a healthy mindset and are eating regular healthy meals (that you don't spit out) it doesn't seem like that big of a deal. As long as you aren't doing it all day and just doing it to get past a craving, I guess to me it doesn't seem that bad.

08-27-2012, 07:01 PM
I read the title of the post and immediately thought of that episode on Sex & The City where Miranda's guy friend from LA did it at a restaurant with his steak. :D

I don't want to make it seem like I'm making light of the situation though. I have to admit that I've done it before too, but only when I've eaten a meal, keep having more.. and then realize I'm actually full after I'd put food in my mouth that I don't want or need anymore. And obviously when no one else is around.:o

I wouldn't make a big deal of it... just don't let it become a habit.

08-28-2012, 12:00 AM
So much good advice! Thank you! I honestly have no intention of doing this on a regular basis. But I can see where the concern can come from.

08-28-2012, 07:13 AM
I have mixed feelings about doing that- I think unless you having the eating disorder mindset spitting out food can be a slippery slope. But if you have a healthy mindset and are eating regular healthy meals (that you don't spit out) it doesn't seem like that big of a deal. As long as you aren't doing it all day and just doing it to get past a craving, I guess to me it doesn't seem that bad.

The problem is, an ED mindset may develop from there no matter what, in a person who otherwise didn't have one (or didn't think s/he could have one). Perhaps not as much as from behaviours like purging and heavily restricting, but it still may. Besides, once a person start veering towards an ED, s/he will often think at first that she still has a healthy mindset, so the frontier between what's a normal behaviour and what isn't gets easily blurred. That's one of the major problem with EDs: when you suffer from one, you don't realize how flawed your logic has become, and your mindset does seem 'healthy' to you. :(