Dieters often get creative in their attempts to avoid eating too many calories. Over the years, gum chewing has emerged as a popular strategy to help people eat less and slim down. But does chewing gum really work? A new study published in the April edition of Eating Behaviors suggests that it does not. But in my own very unscientific long-term trials, I am going to suggest that it might.
Don't Waste Your Money on Gum
In the recent study, researchers conducted two experiments. They found that chewing gum had little impact on the eating behavior or the total calorie intake of their test subjects. They did notice that gum chewing seemed to lessen the appetite of test subjects immediately after they chewed and that the chewing of mint gum seemed to decrease their intake of fruit.
But Don't Throw Away the Dentyne Just Yet
You probably didn't need a published study to tell you that gum, alone, isn't going to be an effective weight loss strategy. But I have a unique relationship with gum chewing so I'm going to weigh in with my own research. From 2001-2002 I suffered from a rare form of cancer that left me without fully functional salivary glands (bizarre, huh?!). To compensate, I have to chew gum regularly. I noticed in the years following my initial cancer treatment that my appetite changed because of the gum. I ate less if I chewed more.
Is my experience with gum chewing enough to support the use of gum as an appetite suppressant? Absolutely not. But it does suggest that people are effected by gum chewing in different ways. Sometimes we eat mindlessly because we are bored. Chewing gives us something to do. Sometimes we just need to taste something and chewing gum helps us enjoy flavor without calories. Could it help you cut down on snacking? Maybe. Maybe not.
My suggestion is to ignore the research and conduct your own study. The next time you are tempted to snack out of boredom, grab some gum instead. It might work, it might not. But it will only cost you a buck or so to find out.
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