Liquid nutrient-rich products (such as Soylent) are consumed without chewing. But if I have to chew to initiate digestion, are those nutrients really "processed"?
If you had to chew to digest, then beverages like sugary sodas would never be digested or provide calories or nutrients, as you (generally) don't chew when you drink them. No, chewing is not required for digestion or nutrient absorption. Chewing is important when eating solid foods, as the chewing action breaks down and begins to solublize the food, and stimulates the production of saliva, which contains enzymes that begin to break down the food prior to digestion in the stomach and intestines.