Nutrimento & nutriMENTE

Chewing gum found to control appetite

By Redazione

UK researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University set out to examine whether chewing gum could positively influence perception of hunger and fullness, and impact on short-term energy intake.

Sixty healthy subjects, with an average body mass index within the normal range (19-25), were recruited to take part in the study. On four separate occasions, subjects were asked to attend the
laboratory for lunch, after which time they either chewed gum, or abstained from eating and drinking except for water. When gum was given, subjects chewed it on two occasions; 1-hour and
2-hours post-lunch. Gum was either sugar-free or sugar-containing depending upon the subjects’ preferences and contributed 5-10 kilocalories per portion. Regardless of whether gum was chewed,
subjects returned to the laboratory mid-afternoon and were offered a large portion of sweet or salty snacks and asked to consume as much as they wished.

The results showed that post-lunch, hunger increased steadily throughout the afternoon. However, in the gum chewing group, this rise in hunger was more subdued. Desire to eat sweet and salty
snacks also increased during the afternoon but, in the gum chewing group, the rise was less for sweet snacks. Desire to eat salty snacks was present regardless of gum chewing. When actual snack
consumption was measured, chewing gum had a modest but statistically significant impact on energy intake (36 kcal difference on average between gum chewers and controls). The reduction in
energy intake was similar for the sugar-free and sugar-containing gums.

The researchers concluded that chewing gum could suppress appetite, specifically the desire to eat sweet snacks. The modest reduction in energy intake needs to be confirmed using a longer-term
protocol before the use of gum as a weight control strategy can be recommended.

For more information, see
Hetherington M & Boyland E (2007). Short-term effects of chewing gum on snack intake and appetite. Appetite, DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2006.109.001.

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