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Chewing the Fat? Maybe.

Posted by bmagnus On October - 30 - 2009

Most of us know that chewing gum will freshen our breath, but get us in trouble at school. A new study suggests that chewing sugar-free gum can help us consume fewer calories later and increase our energy expenditure too. Gum chewers also felt more energetic after chewing.

Study participants spent a total of 60 minutes chewing in the morning, and then on average consumed 67 fewer calories later that day. Energy expenditure rose by 5%. The working theory is that “nerves in the muscles of the jaw are stimulated by the motion of chewing and send signals to the appetite section of the brain that is linked to satiety, which may explain why the act of chewing might help to reduce hunger.”

However, there are 2 things to remember about this study. First, it is a short term study with only a few dozen participants. Researcher Dr. Kathleen Melanson of the University of Rhode Island is interested in doing a longer term study to determine whether gum chewing is a useful strategy in a weight loss regimen. Second, this study was funded by the Wrigley Science Institute, a research group related to the Wrigley gum company dedicated to documenting the benefits of gum chewing. Realistically, we can’t be shocked that a gum company wants to promote gum research.

That being said, there appear to be several benefits and few dangers for adults chewing standard, sugar-free gum — as long as you aren’t caught with it in Algebra class.

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