Sunday, 27 September 2009
Chew gum, snack less?
115 men and women who regularly chew gum visited a lab at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center on 2 occasions:
On the first, they were given a lunch and then stayed for 3 hours, chewing Extra® sugar-free gum for 15 minutes, once an hour.
Hunger and cravings were assessed with the help of questionnaires and at the end of the 3 hours, subjects were given a variety of snacks to choose from.
The next visit was exactly the same, but they weren't given chewing gum.
When subjects chewed gum, they reported significantly less feelings of hunger and cravings for sweet foods and felt significantly less sleepy.
Gum chewers also ate significantly less calories after the 3 hours: 40 calorie less but, more interesting to the researchers, 60 calories less from sweet snacks.
According to Paula Geiselman, Chief of women's health and eating behaviour and smoking cessation at Pennington, this is the first study to look at the nutrient composition of snack food choices following gum chewing.
What I think:
First of all, 40 or 60 calories doesn't sound like a lot. In fact, it's the equivalent of only 4-6 jelly beans. Nonetheless, that could lead to a 4-6 lbs weight loss a year if it was kept up daily.
However, I wonder if these study findings be the same if the subjects weren't regular gum chewers?
Maybe regular gum chewers that can't chew gum for 3 hours need to keep their mouths occupied and eat more (and have more cravings) whereas people that don't normally chew gum wouldn't have the same problem... In that case, wouldn't it be better to tell people never to start chewing gum in the first place?!
Measuring this only on 2 controlled occasions i very limiting too. For example, the subjects obviously knew the difference between their 2 visits was the gum chewing.
Clearly this is something that needs to be studied way more before any recommendations can be made.
Oh. Did I mention that the study was funded by the Wrigley's Science Institute? Hm.
Want to lose weight? Don't rely on chewing gum!