Monday, July 12, 2010

Can chewing gum suppress your appetite?

Before I begin today's post, I just wanted to let everyone know that I have decided to only post once each week. I love being able to blog three times each week; however, with recent increased demands in my life, I think it will fit my schedule better. For now, I will post every Monday! Please enjoy today's post and come back next Monday for more!

A reader brought this question to me and I thought it was a good one to explore. First, I will say that I really think we are talking more about suppressing the desire to eat when we aren’t hungry. We obviously need food and don’t want to take in less than necessary to sustain health; however, it is very easy to over-eat because we’re bored, tired, anxious, or see food that just looks good. I believe this is really what we’re aiming to prevent.

My first thought was that chewing gum probably does prevent this type of eating. First of all, your mouth is busy chewing, so you may not be focusing on the fact that you could be noshing on a bag of chips. Second, if you love that mint taste, or whatever your flavor of gum, you probably don’t want to screw that up with food in your teeth. Third, I imagine it is a lot like finding something for your hands to do when you’re trying to quit smoking. The actual act of chewing gum takes care of your need to chew food; but with much less calories!

After looking around at the research, I found that there wasn’t much! However, there is a lot of positive speculation that points to gum chewing being effective in reducing caloric intake. One study did, in fact, find that gum chewers ingested less calories than non-gum chewers (Hetherington M & Boyland E (2007). Short-term effects of chewing gum on snack intake and appetite. Appetite, DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2006.109.001.). What this study did not examine was the long-term effect. Sure, maybe those people ate less calories one day, but did that continue over time leading to weight loss? Did those people maintain their weight loss? Did this lead to better health outcomes?

Another study is in the works to be performed and it looks like they will be looking for participants soon. The researchers suspect that gum chewing will be an advantage; however, more so for lean individuals than obese. This may not come as good news to some if it is true. My thought is that some obese individuals may have more issues to overcome with food that cannot be solved by simply chewing a piece of gum.

The research will be interesting as it unfolds. When all is said and done, I believe that this gum-chewing tactic is like many others. It really just depends on what works for you! If you feel that chewing gum helps you to stave off mindless snacking, then you are a great candidate for gum-chewing! It often takes a lot of experimenting to find exactly what helps you to lose those last few pounds or stay healthier by avoiding a lot of junk food.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

Motivational Monday:
I want to lose weight so that I never end up needing two tickets, just for myself, to ride on an airplane!


  1. Thanks for checking into this, Aunt-E. I definitely think chewing some gum helps me get through that tired period at around 3pm. Much better than going to the vending machine for a Coke or other snack. Have a great week!

  2. I completely agree. Gum chewing definitely keeps me from wanting to mess up the minty taste in my mouth and keeps me busy chewing. It goes without saying that this tactic works best when you choose sugarless gum! :)

    PS I totally understand you needing to back down to 1 post per week. You have a log going on, Missy!