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Chewing Gum Helps Suppress Appetite, Reduce Sugar Cravings

2011-08-02 07:05

When you are trying to lose weight, every little trick helps, and chewing gum may be one of those tricks. A new study from the University of Leeds found that chewing gum after a meal significantly suppressed appetite and reduced cravings for sweet and salty snacks.

Can chewing gum help you lose weight?

The current study included 60 healthy volunteers (53 women; age range, 18 to 55 years) of normal weight who consumed a standard lunch on four different occasions at a lab. Immediately after eating, the volunteers rated their hunger, appetite, and cravings for sweet and salty snacks hourly for three hours, at which time they returned to the lab for a snack.

During two of the four test sessions, the participants chewed gum for at least 15 minutes at hourly intervals, for a total of at least 45 minutes. On the other two occasions, no gum was chewed. During two of the snack sessions, salty snacks were offered, while sweet snacks were provided during the other two sessions.

The investigators found that chewing gum reduced the weight of the snack consumed by 10 percent when compared with sessions when no gum was chewed. Chewing gum for at least 45 minutes after a meal significantly suppressed appetite, reduced the volunteers’ cravings for sweet and salty snacks, and promoted a feeling of fullness.

The authors concluded that “If consumers could satisfy cravings and feel less tempted by high energy snacks, gum may be a useful adjunct to weight control.” However, because losing weight takes a long time, they pointed out that “the effects of repeated exposure to gum within a weight loss programme is necessary to assess its influence on weight management within a controlled, clinical trial.”

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This was not the first study to look at the impact of chewing gum on appetite and weight loss. In a 2007 study, investigators examined the effects of chewing gum on appetite and snack intake in 40 females and 20 males. The study design was similar to that of the current study: subjects went to a lab on four different occasions for lunch, followed by a three-hour period during which they chewed gum on two of the four occasions.

In this study, the researchers found that chewing gum reduced the number of calories consumed in the snack by 36. The participants also reported less of an increase in hunger between lunch and snack time when they chewed gum than when they did not, and that their desire to eat sweet (but not salty) snacks increased less after gum compared with no gum.

Results of the latest study, which was funded in part by the Wrigley Science Institute, may give dieters something to chew on. The authors noted that in “participants who are moderately restrained eaters, who are motivated to lose weight or maintain weight loss, chewing gum reduced desire for and intake of highly palatable sweet and salty snacks.”

SOURCES:
Hetherington MM, Regan MF. Appetite 2011; doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.06.008
Hetherington MM, Boyland E. Appetite 2007 May; 48(3): 397-401

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