Chewing and Spitting (CHSP)

Chewing and spitting (CHSP) is an abnormal eating behavior, often associated with eating disorders, which involves chewing food to taste it and then spitting out before swallowing. It may sound harmless, but it can lead to critical physical and psychological issues.

Physical Consequences of Chewing and Spitting

Chewing and spitting out food does allow you to taste the flavor without consuming any calories, which may seem beneficial if you’re looking to lose weight. However, it is important to remember that the body still partially absorbs nutrients from chewed food that is spat out. Additionally, the body’s digestive process begins in the mouth, where enzymes in saliva start breaking down food particles. When this process is cut short, it can disrupt normal digestion leading to gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

Moreover, habitual CHSP can cause dental erosion and decay due to exposure of the teeth to sugary and acidic food without the normal wash-down that occurs when food is swallowed.

Psychological Consequences of Chewing and Spitting

On a psychological level, CHSP is a manifestation of an unhealthy relationship with food. It frequently co-occurs with eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder. CHSP can reinforce the cycle of guilt and shame associated with eating, leading to increased stress levels.

Moreover, the individual may experience social isolation due to the secrecy and avoidance of normal eating settings that comes with CHSP habits. They may also spend an excessive amount of time thinking about, planning, and practicing the CHSP ritual - a level of preoccupation that can negatively affect personal relationships, work, and social life.

How to Break the Cycle?

If you recognize these CHSP behaviors in yourself, it's important to reach out to healthcare providers such as psychologists, psychiatrists, or a registered dietitian who specialize in eating disorders for support. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective in treating these behaviors, as it focuses on changing distorted thoughts and behaviors related to eating, body shape, and weight.

Moreover, practicing mindful eating can counteract the CHSP cycle. Paying full attention to what you're eating without distractions, savoring the flavors, and recognizing signs of physical hunger and fullness can help reestablish a healthy relationship with food.

Remember, it's okay to seek help, and recovery is entirely possible. CHSP is more than just an odd habit, but a sign of a disordered relationship with food - one that requires attention and care. So take that first step towards wellness today. You're not alone in this journey.