Does chewing gum make you fat

United States is largest consumer of chewing gum in the world, with 650 grams per person per year. A small chewing gum which also maintains all the fantasies: it would take turns to gain or lose weight, cause intestinal disorders or allow one to concentrate. So, chewing gum, a source of extra pounds? Or on the contrary, lose weight?

Does chewing gum make you hungry?

Many people agree that chewing gum causes hunger : constant chewing and increased absorption of saliva causes stomach cramps, similar to those you experience when you are hungry . Thus, our brain would be fooled and we would be more inclined to eat , to soothe the contractions of our stomach.

Yet some studies contradict this belief  :

  • A study conducted in 2013 concludes that chewing gum would have no effect on feelings of hunger, or on ghrelin concentrations , or on blood sugar.
  • Another 2015 study , examining the benefits of chewing, demonstrated that chewing accelerated satiety and therefore had a positive influence on food intake.
  • A final analysis subjected a group of men of normal weight and in good health to a 12 hour fast. Then they chewed sugar-free chewing gum for 30 minutes. The results show reduced hunger, faster satiety, and no impact on insulin or blood sugar.

Also, it seems that chewing gum would not cause an increased feeling of hunger and would even accelerate the feeling of fullness . Therefore, it would not make you fat.

Does chewing gum have an influence on food choices?

The finding on chewing gum is nevertheless more complex. Indeed, a study published in Eating Behavior has concluded that chewing gum, whether menthol or fruity, has a bad influence on food choices .

  • The volunteers who chewed mint-flavored chewing gum tended to go for unhealthy foods (junk food, chips or cookies) and to reject the fruit .
  • The volunteers who chewed fruity-flavored chewing gum also neglected the fruit, but to a lesser extent.

The author of the study explains this phenomenon very simply: eating fruit after chewing gum would leave a bitter taste in the mouth, so that one would be more attracted to other food groups.

In addition, the study found that people who chew gum before each meal would tend to eat fewer meals, but the meals they would eat would be higher in calories . In question: less informed food choices, which give pride of place to fatty , salty or sweet foods .

Does chewing gum make you lose weight?

The debate on chewing gum and its possible effects on weight is therefore in full swing. Japanese researchers have studied the repercussions of chewing combined with physical activity . They indeed subjected male and female volunteers, aged 21 to 69, to a new experience: walking for 15 minutes, at a normal pace, chewing gum. The results are surprising:

  • Men aged 40 and over tend to walk faster when they chew, which burns more calories .
  • Conversely, in women, no repercussions of chewing gum on cardio-motor synchronization are observed.

Another study, less fanciful, from the University of Rhode Island, however, confirms the slimming virtues of chewing gum: people who have chewed sugar-free chewing gum, before going to the table, consume an average of 68 calories. less, without post-meal food compensation . In addition, “serial chewers” burn on average 5% more calories than non-chewing gum enthusiasts.

However, other studies contradict these results: a 2011 analysis concluded that chewing gum had no slimming effect on obese adults .

In conclusion…

It is therefore difficult to conclude on the possible slimming benefits of chewing gum, just as it is impossible to say that it makes you fat . Even today, debates are open and studies and counter-studies are increasing.

Besides, chewing gum produces multiple effects on the body , sometimes very surprising:

  • It increases concentration and reactivity
  • It reduces stress
  • It helps maintain good breath and good oral hygiene (effects of salivation), provided it is sugar-free
  • It induces unnecessary absorption of air and hence causes bloating and belching

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