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Lets Chew Gum!

Por Ana C. López, Nutrition Counselor, MyDiet™ Team -
Lets Chew Gum!

In addition to a pleasant, cool sensation, chewing gum could help you reduce your caloric intake and, therefore, lose weight.

In a study published in 2007 by Appetite magazine, chewing gum's effects on appetite and total food intake during snack time was evaluated. As a result, it was observed that people who chew gum after lunch reduced their energy intake by 8.2 %. Researchers explained this effect as a diminished feeling of hunger. Apparently, the act of chewing gum sends a "full" signal to the brain.

The act of chewing gum also produces a small caloric output (11 calories per hour, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic). However, the most important effect is not a result of the calories spent when chewing gum, but due to the fact that we snack less on high-calorie foods.

Sugar-free chewing gum is considered as "free food" within your eating plan. Besides, since it does have a sweet flavor, it may calm your anxiety to "snack" on something sweet between meals without feeling guilty!

Another study, conducted in Northumbria University's Psychology Division, in the UK, evaluated the impact of chewing gum on enhancing certain aspects of one’s memory. This seems to be due to a blood flow increase towards certain areas of the brain. Therefore, benefits of chewing gum may go beyond controlling body weight.

Lastly, the American Dental Association (ADA) indicates that sugar-free chewing gum may contribute to better oral health. This is due to the increased production of saliva in the mouth, which neutralizes acid production after meals. The ADA's recommendation is to chew gum 20 minutes per day following meals to prevent tooth decay.

Below, you will find a few tips to make the best of chewing gum:

  • Chew sugar-free gum after each meal.
  • If you are anxious to eat, chew gum before going for a snack.
  • While you are cooking, enjoy sugar-free chewing gum to avoid the temptation of nibbling on the food you are preparing.
  • Choose mint flavored chewing gum to keep your breath fresh. You will think twice before giving up that sensation of freshness in your mouth!

 As you can see, chewing gum may be a useful "tool" to stick to your diet plan. However, remember that the most important thing to achieve your weight goal is to combine a balanced diet with an exercise routine.

Reviewed literature:

1) Hetherington MM, Boyland E. “Short term effects of chewing gum on snack intake and appetite. Appetite. 2007 May; 48(3):397-401.

2) Wilkinson L, Scholey AB, Wesnes K. “Chewing gum selectively improves memory in healthy volunteers.” Appetite. 2002; 38(3): 235-236.

3) American Dental Association (2008). ADA Seal of Acceptance Program. Reviewed on July, 2008 from http://www.ada.org/ada/seal/chewing_gum.asp

 

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