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Chewing gum is an easy way to freshen your breath, and keep your gum and teeth healthy. Nobody would disagree with this. But how about chewing a few sticks of sugar-free gum a day to lose weight? Many people claim it to be effective as it helps keep them away from mindless eating, reduce cravings as well as tone the facial muscles. Is this trick worth trying?
There are studies to support this theory, but just chewing gum is not enough to shed those extra kilos. One should also follow a healthy diet and get regular physical activity. Now, let's look at some of the studies that suggest chewing gum may offer weight loss benefits.
Some researchers say the action of chewing may make you feel fuller, which in turn helps reduce hunger and reduce cravings, particularly for snacks.
In one recent study, participants who were asked to chew sugarless gum for 30 minutes following a meal reported feeling fuller than non-gum-chewers.
A review of 15 studies suggested that the process of chewing may reduce hunger and food intake by stimulating the release of specific gut hormones.
However, some studies claimed that chewing gum may reduce your desire to eat fruit. If this is true, it can affect your overall diet quality. Therefore, chewing gum may not be a safe way to melt your fat.
Some people believe that chewing gum between meals makes them consume fewer calories during the day and thus helps lose weight. This seems to be true as a study from the University of Rhode Island also found that people who chewed gum between breakfast and lunch reported feeling less hungry. In fact, the participants consumed around 68 fewer calories at lunch than those who didn't chew gum. They also did not compensate by eating more later in the day, probably because chewing gum helped satisfy their cravings and resist fattening treats. The study also claimed that gum chewers were able to burn about 5% more calories than non-gum chewers.
Another study from Louisiana State University found that chewing gum helped control appetite, reduce snack cravings, and decrease participants' daily intake by 40 calories.
Although these findings appear promising, the reductions in calorie intake remain small and none of them showed significant long-term weight loss. Moreover, some studies argued that gum chewing has little influence on food or calorie intake.
Some researchers are of the opinion that the action of chewing gum may help burn a few additional calories. For example, a small study found that people who chewed gum before and after breakfast burned around 3 5% more calories in the 3 hours following the meal than those who didn't chew gum.
Another study suggested that chewing gum after a meal increased diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT), which is the number of calories burned through digestion. But these numbers are too small to contribute to significant weight loss. Some experts argue that simply eating the same meal more slowly may be more effective at raising DIT than chewing gum.
However, if you walk while chewing gum, then it may actually aid weight loss. It may help increase your heart rate and walking speed, which will in turn increase calorie and fat burning.
Take away: It's unlikely that chewing gum will produce significant weight loss results unless you make other dietary and lifestyle changes. But you can continue chewing the sugar-free gum to get rid of bad breath and gain other possible benefits.
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