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Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks

Study suggests that sugarless brands can help control appetite and weight

SUNDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- You might be able to cut down on snacking by chewing more sugarless gum.

During an experiment, people were offered a variety of snacks three hours after a standard lunch and were told they could eat as much of the snacks as they desired. One afternoon the participants also chewed sugarless gum for 15 minutes each hour in the period between lunch and snack time. The other afternoon, gum-chewing was not allowed during that time.

The researchers found that people ate fewer snacks and shaved 40 calories off their in-between meal consumption when they chewed gum, compared with their snack consumption when they didn't chew gum.

The participants -- 115 men and women 18 to 54 years old, all regular gum-chewers -- said that they generally didn't feel as hungry or as desirous of a sweet treat after chewing the gum. They also reported having good energy throughout the afternoon and feeling less drowsy at mid-afternoon snack time than they did on an afternoon when they chewed no gum.

The results were to be presented April 19 in New Orleans at the Experimental Biology 2009 conference.

"Overall, this research demonstrates the potential role chewing gum can play in appetite control, reduction of snack cravings and weight management," researcher Paula J Geiselman, chief of women's health and eating behavior and smoking cessation at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, said in a news release from the conference sponsors. "Even small changes in calories can have an impact in the long term. And, this research supports the role of chewing gum as an easy, practical tool for managing snack, especially sweet snack, intake and cravings."

The study was sponsored by the Wrigley Science Institute, part of the company that makes chewing gum.

More information

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more about healthy eating.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, news release, April 19, 2009

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