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TIP: Chew Gum to Curb Appetite

It may be time to bring back the Bazooka and Big League Chew. Research suggests chewing gum between meals can help reduce hunger and caloric intake.
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While lip-smacking and bubble-blowing might offend the mild-mannered, the benefits of chewing gum might just blow their socks off. Studies suggest chewing gum can help control appetite, causing people to consume fewer calories throughout the day [1] [2]. So keep on chomping, no matter what gets in the way.

Chew On This — The Takeaway

Photo by Nicole Fara Silver

Research suggests chewing gum does more than temporarily freshen the breath. One study found that those who chewed gum after lunch reported lower appetite and cravings for sweet and salty snacks [1]. And those who chewed gum consumed up to 10 percent less than non-gum-chewers come snack time [1]. Other research has also linked chewing gum to decreased hunger between meals [2].

Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not gum’s flavor or some hard core bubble-blowing that keeps chewers satisfied. When people pop in a stick of gum, they’re mimicking actions associated with eating, including chewing, tasting, salivating, and swallowing [3]. This type of stimulation helps temporarily convince the stomach that it’s full. Talk about trick gum!

In addition to calming cravings and cleaning up a dirty mouth, chewing gum might also help reduce anxiety and stress, which have consistently been cited as possible causes of overeating [4] [5]. So the next time hunger strikes, consider reaching for a stick of gum over a stack of Pringles. Just be weary of sugar-loaded brands which can contribute to cavities and tooth decay [6]. And for those with a history of jaw discomfort, be sure to avoid chewing too vigorously or it's possible a painful jaw condition could crop up.

Tip

Rather than chowing down on snacks, try chewing gum between meals to reduce hunger and calorie consumption.

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Works Cited +

  1. Effects of chewing gum on short-term appetite regulation in moderately restrained eaters. Hetherington, M.M and Regan, M.F. Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, England, UK. Appetite 2011 Jun; 57(2): 475 – 482.
  2. Short-term effects of chewing gum on snack intake and appetite. Hetherington, M.M. and Boyland, E. Department of Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK. Appetite 2001 May; 48(3): 397-401.
  3. An investigation of the role of oro-sensory stimulation in sugar satiety. Lavin, J.H., French, S.J., Ruxton C.H., et al. Slimming World, Derbyshire, UK. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 2002 March; 26(3): 384-388.
  4. Benefits of chewing. Moss, S.J. Journal of the Indian Society of Predodontics and Preventive Dentistry 2008; 26: S51-S52.
  5. Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and obesity. Torres, S.J., Nowson, C.A. Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia. Nutrition. 2007 Nov-Dec;23(11-12):887-94. Epub 2007 Sep 17.
  6. Chewing gum and dental health. Literature review. Toors, F.A. Revue Belge de Medecine Dentaire 1992;47(3):67-92.

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