Who doesn’t enjoy a nice piece of chewing gum? Well, I may be jumping the gun a bit here but I do love a nice stick of sugarless cinnamon gum. And now it turns out that chewing may be very good forweight control too!
Here’s the deal. In a recent study sponsored by Wrigley’s (I know! I know! Conflict of interest…?) men and women who chewed Extra sugar-free gum 3 times hourly in the afternoon chose and consumed less snacks and especially, less sweet snacks than they did when they did not chew gum. While they still reached for a variety of snacks provided, the decrease in overall snack intake was significant at 40 calories and sweet snack intake specifically was significantly lowered by 60 calories. Which can be significant over time. Earlier gum studies had found that gum chewing was associated with lower snack intake, but this study is the first to examine the macronutrient make-up of afternoon snack food choices made by men and women after chewing gum.
The participants, 115 men and women, between the ages of 18 and 54, were all regular gum chewers who came to the lab twice - once for the gum condition and the other for the no-gum condition. Subjects were given sandwiches for lunch, which were nutrient-rich enough to make up ¼ of their recommended caloric intake per day. They stayed in the lab and for the next 3 hours, either chewed Extra sugar-free gum for 15 minutes hourly for three hours or did not chew gum. They found that when the folks chewed gum, on average, they reported significantly decreased feelings of hunger and cravings for something sweet. In addition, the gum chewers felt they maintained energy levels throughout the afternoon and also felt significantly less drowsy at hours two and three before the afternoon snack.
This study shows the potential role that chewing gum can play in appetite control, reduction of snack cravings and weight management. Yes, even small changes in calories can have an impact on your weight in the long term and this supports the role of chewing gum as an easy, practical tool for managing snack, especially sweet snack, intake and cravings.