Chewing Gum for Weight Loss

March 16, 2011

Effective weight loss begins with reducing calorie intake while increasing activity levels and exercise to burn more calories. Reducing the amount of calories you eat will force your body to burn the fuel it already has (in the form of that extra, undesirable fat) to function. But you need to exercise as well since exercise will help strengthen your heart and build muscle.

Shedding Pounds With Gum

According to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine, chewing gum can help the average person lose up to 11 pounds a year. But it can't be just any type of chewing gum. It needs to be sugar-free chewing gum.

The research, conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, involved hooking up seven students to a machine that measured the content of exhaled air and ultimately the amount of energy each person used.

Each student's exhaled air was measured during a 30-minute rest period. They were not chewing gum. The average energy each student used was 58 kilocalories per hour. When the subjects were given sugar-free gum to chew at 100 times per minute, measurement of average energy use jumped to 70 kilocalories an hour and an elevated metabolic rate. The conclusion the researchers reached was that chewing gum at 100 chews per minute increased the metabolic rate by about 20 percent which translated into a weight loss of approximately 11 pounds a year.

Does It Really Work?

It can. But you'd have to chew gum vigorously for at least 10 hours a day to lose those 11 pounds. Most people won't do that. So if you're looking to lose weight, depending significantly on chewing gum won't help you lose those last ten pounds.

But sugar-free gum can still be used as an effective way of weight control. Since you already have something tasty in your mouth, chewing gum can help you resist the urge to eat. If you're feeling the munchies, you can grab a stick of gum and vigorously chew it instead of reaching for that bag of chips or bowl of ice cream.

The Bad News

Sugar-free gum, especially the kind designed to freshen your breath, has added chlorophyll which is an unnatural chemical. There are no studies that concretely show the long-term side effects, if any, of chlorophyll.

Some studies show that chewing gum for extended periods of time overworks the intestines and the stomach. If they don't have time to rest, painful stomach burns and ulcers could form. Some studies suggest that chewing gum could increase the likelihood of some cancers, like oral cancer.

Gum should never replace food either since it doesn't contain the proper nutrients your body needs to function. This could cause low energy levels and ultimately lead to organ failure and serious health problems.

 

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