If you want to eat less and lose weight, chew gum. That’s the message from University of Rhode Island nutritionists who presented their findings at the Obesity Society’s 2009 Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington DC October 26-27.
In their investigation — which was supported by the Wrigley Company — the researchers found that volunteers who chewed gum for an hour in the morning during three separate 20-minute sessions consumed over 60 calories less at lunchtime, didn’t eat more later on in the day and expended 5 percent more energy than when they didn’t chew gum. Gum-chewers also reported experiencing higher energy levels.
“Overall, this study demonstrates the effects of chewing sugar-free gum on meal intake and energy expenditure, such that over a half-day about 62 kilocalories could be ‘saved’ by a total of one hour of relaxed gum chewing compared to not chewing gum,” wrote lead researcher Kathleen Melanson in the report.
Chewing sugar-free gum has been recognized as an effective way to control weight, and continuous gum chewing has also been shown in previous studies to burn fat, relieve anxiety and stress and improve alertness. Gum chewing is even linked to better academic performance among teenagers, according to some industry reports.
But there are numerous negative side effects to gum chewing. Medical experts have warned that constant gum chewing can exhaust the stomach and intestines and it could lead to stomach burns, ulcers and even heighten risks of esophageal cancer. Also, a lot of sugar-free gum contains aspartame, a controversial sweetener that has been shown to have averse health effects.
Photo: ©Dmitry Melnikov