We're advised to chew our food many times before swallowing which breaks the food down into small chunks before we swallow and send it off down to our stomachs. What happens if we were to swallow larger chunks of food?

Does it take longer to digest because it will take longer for your stomach to break down?

Does this mean that you will feel fuller for longer?

1 Answer 1


Failure to properly chew food (especially meat) can cause a medical condition known as Steakhouse Syndrome where a bolus sticks in the esophagus.

Whilst this can sometimes resolve itself naturally, in extreme cases surgery is required to dislodge the offending lump of food.

Having had to experience such surgery myself, I certainly wouldn't recommend consuming larger and larger chunks of food as a matter of course.

As for what actually happens if you do consume large chunks of food - they do take longer to digest as they're not completely broken down in the stomach but are passed through in partially undigested form to the intestines.

On the back of this, you may think this would make you feel fuller sooner but actually, the opposite it true. It is signals from the stomach that indicate to your body that you're becoming full. During World War II when food was scarce, the government recommended eating slowly for exactly this reason - that you would give your stomach sufficient time to let you know you were full so precious food would not be wasted.

  • 1
    While I agree with your answer, there are other aspects to the OP's question. If you could address those, it would make for a better answer. Thanks. Also, while I've seen and treated many esophageal obstructions caused by food boluses, I have never (in decades of practice) seen one go to the OR (I can imagine a couple of scenarios which might make it necessary in theory, though.) Perhaps you can elaborate on this? Thanks. Sep 24, 2015 at 20:55
  • Thanks for your feedback. I have added a little more detail to my answer.
    – Robbie Dee
    Sep 24, 2015 at 21:24

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