Chewing sugar-free gum can help with weight loss

The Introduction

chewing gum machineHard to believe I know, but this research suggests chewing gum can help long term weight loss. As we age, the battle of the bulge becomes harder. This research suggests chewing sugar-free gum may help with weight loss by reducing cravings and hunger pangs as well as burning up extra calories.

The Research

33 volunteers (17 men and 16 women) between the ages of 18 and 48 years volunteered for the study. They had to chew Wrigley’s Extra sugar-free gum for 20 minutes on three occasions – after a 10-hour overnight fast, then twice between a standardised breakfast and a self-chosen lunch. Gas analysis machines were used to measure the energy expenditure and surveys were conducted on eating habits and hunger sensations.  

The Results

After subjects chewed gum in the morning, their calorie intake at lunch was decreased by 68 calories (an orange or apple contain this amount of energy). Despite consuming fewer calories at lunch, participants did not report greater hunger and did not compensate by increasing their calorie intake later in the day. When participants chewed gum, they reported feeling less hungry, as compared to when they did not chew gum. When subjects chewed gum with a relaxed, natural pace before and after eating, their energy expenditure increased. When participants chewed gum before eating, their energy expenditure (calorie usage) was higher by approximately 5%, as compared to when they did not chew gum. When participants chewed gum after eating, their energy expenditure was also higher by approximately 5%, as compared to when they did not chew gum. Furthermore, with gum chewing, subjects reported reduced weariness and less perceived effort to do things, as compared to when they did not chew gum.

The So What?

While the research is supported by Wrigley’s the chewing gum company and may be questioned, it has support from a number of other previous studies published in peer-reviewed journals. It suggests that chewing sugar-free gum can burn energy, reduce hunger, diminish cravings and decrease snack intake. That’s for me!

Melanson, K., Reti, K., Kresge, D. (2010). Relationships between gum chewing, energy expenditure and RQ before and after controlled breakfasts. The Obesity Society’s 2009 Annual Scientific Meeting, October 26-27, Washington, USA.

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