Chewing Gum After A Meal Could Help You Manage Your Weight

Chewing food slowly and thoroughly can help burn calories, an effect that can be enhanced by chewing gum after eating.

AsianScientist (Apr. 13, 2016) – Chewing gum may actually be good for you—not just for freshening your breath, but also for weight management, especially after a meal, as researchers in Japan found out. Their work was published in Obesity.

Studies have shown that chewing food slowly and properly helps to curb overeating. However, in today’s busy society, many of us tend to eat quickly and carelessly. In slow-eating individuals, diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT)—the energy required to digest and metabolize the food we eat—was found to be greater than that in those who eat their meals quickly. A higher rate of DIT may be a protective factor against obesity.

Using that knowledge, researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology set out to investigate how the negative effects of rapid eating could be reduced. The answer may lie in a humble piece of chewing gum: the team hypothesized that post-meal gum chewing would increase DIT by increasing abdominal activities.

To test their hypothesis, they recruited 12 healthy normal-weight males to participate in four eating trials on four different days. The participants were asked to consume a 621-kcal meal in two different ways; taking as long as they would like to eat their food, or as quickly as possible. The same trials were repeated with the addition of a 15-minute gum-chewing session and the consumption of 3 kcal of sugar, which corresponds to the energy of the gum, respectively, after the meal.

As they had hypothesized, the researchers found that DIT was greater in the gum-chewing trials for both rapid-eating and slow-eating trials. Notably, the difference in DIT between rapid-eating and slow-eating trials was greater than that between non-gum-chewing and gum-chewing trials.

Although the beneficial effect of post-meal gum chewing did not outweigh that of slow eating, this study shows that having a piece of gum after each meal is likely to help weight management. Eating slowly can be difficult for some people, since natural eating speed is acquired over a long period of time. Gum chewing, in contrast, requires very little effort. Therefore, it should be an easy positive habit for all of us to adopt, according to the researchers.

The article can be found at: Hamada et al. (2016) Effect of Postprandial Gum Chewing on Diet-Induced Thermogenesis.


Source: Tokyo Institute of Technology; Photo: Paul Sableman/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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