Benefits of Chewing Gum – Cutting The Urge to Snack Between Meals

Did you know that one of the benefits of chewing gum is that you might actually cut the urge to snack? This was the finding according to some recent gum manufacturer funded research.

The experiment involved offering people a variety of snacks three hours after a regular lunch (a sandwich) and encouraging the subjects to eat as much as they wanted.

One of the afternoons during the study, the participants were told to chew Extra sugarless gum for 15 minutes in each of the three hours between lunch and the snack time. Other afternoons no gum chewing was allowed during this time.

The researchers found that those who chewed gum ate fewer snacks and shaved 40 calories off their in between meal snacking, compared to times when they hadn’t been chewing gum.

The subjects – 115 men and women aged 18 to 54, all regular gum chewers, reported that they didn’t feel as hungry or have the same urge for a sweet after chewing the gum.

Energy levels remained good, and there was less drowsiness at the mid afternoon snack time than on the afternoons when they didn’t chew the gum.

“Overall, this research demonstrates the potential role chewing gum can play in appetite control, reduction of snack cravings and weight management,” Geiselman explains in a news release from the sponsors of the conference.

“Even small changes in calories can have an impact in the long term. And, this research supports the role of chewing gum as an easy, practical tool for managing snack, especially sweet snack, intake and cravings.”

But, before you go out and stock up on sugarless gum as a diet aid… it’s important to understand that the study was sponsored by the Wrigley Science Institute, part of the company that produces chewing gum.

Wrigley is one of two companies (the other being Cadbury) that accounts for just over 60% of the gum market share in the world. It was Wrigley’s Extra that was used in the study.

And while this type of gum doesn’t have sugar it gets it’s sweetness from artificial sweeteners that aren’t without potential side effects.

Sorbitol, the sweetener in Extra and other gums (as well as in diet drinks and ice cream) can act as a laxative.

An incredibly small study conducted by German researchers and appearing last year in the British Medical Journal found that too much sorbitol could case chronic diarrhea, stomach troubles and unintended weight loss.

The two subjects who participated in this work took in 18 grams of sorbitol a day – a stick of gum has about 1.25g of the sweetener.

Other research on artificial sweeteners (using rats) suggests that these substances might confuse the body’s ability to regulate food intake, causing weight gain for some.

It seems the artificial sweeteners might have the body expecting more food on the way, pushing you to eat more, this according to work last year by a Purdue University team – Susan Swithers and Terry Davidson.

So the benefits of chewing gum might prove helpful to some it’s not anything magic.

The best approach to managing your weight is to eat a variety of good, healthy foods in moderation and stay away from sweets, calorie-laden junk foods and sodas.

Regular exercise is key, as is getting enough sleep so that your body is rested and ready to go each day.