Most types of gum have relatively few calories per piece, usually 10 or less, so they are a good way for you to get a little sweet fix. Some, but not all, research shows that chewing gum may help you decrease your appetite, at least for a little while. These decreases in appetite, however, won't necessarily lead to weight loss.
Decreased Appetite and Snacking
Participants in a study published in "Appetite" in October 2011 who chewed gum for 15 minutes each hour after lunch ate 10 percent less than those who didn't chew gum when offered a snack three hours later. The gum chewing helped limit cravings for both sweet and salty snacks and helped participants feel less hungry.
Not all studies have shown decreases in snacking, however. A study published in "Appetite" in May 2007 found that chewing gum for 15 minutes per hour after lunch decreased cravings for sweet snacks, but not for salty ones. Another study, published in the same journal in March 2007, found that participants who chewed gum whenever hungry or who chewed gum two hours after lunch didn't experience a decrease in appetite or snacking during the rest of the day, compared to participants who didn't chew gum.
Effect on Weight Loss
Don't expect to start chewing gum and have your extra pounds melt off. A study published in "Obesity" in March 2012 found that chewing gum for at least 90 minutes a day on a regular schedule for eight weeks didn't lead to any more weight loss than being given a handout on nutrition. You'll need to follow the usual recommendations -- eat less and exercise more -- if you want to lose weight.
While any type of gum may help increase the amount of saliva in your mouth to help carry off bits of food, stick with sugar-free gum that has the American Dental Association seal, as this type of gum may help lower your risk for cavities the most. Chewing gum after meals is best for limiting cavities, while chewing gum periodically between meals may be more effective for decreasing your appetite.
- Appetite: Short-Term Effects of Chewing Gum on Snack Intake and Appetite
- Appetite: Influence of Sweetened Chewing Gum on Appetite, Meal Patterning and Energy Intake
- Appetite: Effects of Chewing Gum on Short-Term Appetite Regulation in Moderately Restrained Eaters
- Obesity: Randomized Controlled Trial of Chewing Gum for Weight Loss
- North Dakota State University Extension Service: Prairie Fare - Chewing Gum May Help with Stress and Appetite Management