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Fletcher's Claim: "Nature Will Castigate Those
Who Don't Masticate."

In 1895, American Horace Fletcher was denied life insurance because he was both overweight and dyspeptic. So, he decided to change...and also change the world!

He equated bad health with the habit of eating too fast at meals. With a growing number of followers (such as Harvard philosopher William James, author Upton Sinclair, and John Rockerfeller), Fletcher challenged others to "eat only as long as hunger dictated, and to masticate--that is, chew--every bit until the last nuance of taste was extracted..."

Fletcher, called "The Great Masticator," noted that the normal number of chews needed per mouthful of food was 30 chews. But, some foods (e.g. green onions) required 700 chews!

Your task: Consider or eat an average meal...how many mouthfuls are involved? How long does it take to chew 30 times? How long would it take to finish your meal under the influence of Fletcher's fad? And, what if you needed to use 700 chews for 1/3 of the mouthfuls?

Note: Philosopher James eventually gave up the fad, claiming "I had to give it up, it nearly killed me."

Source: Adapted from Ripley's Believe It or Not! Encyclopedia of the Bizarre, 2002, p. 51