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Chewing Gum For Weight Loss?

There are people who claim that chewing gum helps them control their appetite but does this really work?

James Shikany and colleagues from the University of Alabama have addressed this question in a randomised controlled trial published in OBESITY.

In this 8-week study, 201 overweight and obese adults were randomised to receiving either printed material on good nutrition and chewing gum for a minimum of 90 min/day or to only receiving the printed nutrition information only.

At the end of 8 weeks, there was no signficant change in body weight (although waist circumference decreased by about 1.5 cms) in the intervention group.

There was a small drop in blood pressure (-3 mmHg) in the gum chewers but this fall was not statistically significant from any changes in the control group.

Thus, the authors conclude that chewing gum on a regular schedule for 8 weeks did not facilitate weight loss in these overweight and obese adults.

So much for this RCT – if you have personal experience with gum chewing and what it does to your hunger or appetite, I’d sure love to hear about it.

Edmonton, Alberta

photo credit: canonsnapper via photopin cc

ResearchBlogging.orgShikany JM, Thomas AS, McCubrey RO, Beasley TM, & Allison DB (2012). Randomized controlled trial of chewing gum for weight loss. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 20 (3), 547-52 PMID: 22076595



  1. I used to chew gum when I wasn’t particularly hungry at work but just wanted something to chew on to alleviate stress a bit. Had to give it up after I developed TMJ disorder. Fair warning to others: TMJD hurts like the dickens and is not cheap to treat if you get it bad enough. Since giving it up, I tend to go for healthier crunchy munchies — nuts, fruit, raw veggies & soy nuts. Haven’t gained any weight from the switch, but my jaw and head don’t hurt any more.

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  2. I chew a lot of gum but I don’t use it specifically for weight loss. It just helps me to not snack on other things (most of the time).

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  3. I’m not the typical obese or overweight subject that’s struggling with weight-loss. I’m a young, lean (dieted down, was always overweight) male who resistance trains. I struggle with hunger and cravings under hypo and hypercaloric conditions and I use sugar-free gum to control my hunger. It tends to take away the edge when my cravings set in. It’s been extremely helpful in the past and I will continue to utilize this strategy.

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  4. Last year, I quit smoking by switching to nicotine gum/mints. I found those highly addictive (perhaps more addictive than cigarettes), but I continued to use them for about a full year on the theory that even if it was an addiction, it was a better addiction than cigarettes. Still, they came with some bad side effects (acid reflux being the most annoying), and nicotine isn’t exactly good for you, so I wanted to quit.

    In July, I quit nicotine gum by transitioning to regular gum (xylitol Trident mint gum), which I chewed quit a lot of (~20-30 pieces per day). It was at this point that my very successful weight loss program that I started in February (consisting of pretty standard calorie reduction and exercise) plateaued at ~40 pounds of weight lost (BMI 32.4 down to 27.3). I’d been tracking my weight daily, with an exponentially smoothed moving average, so I can see pretty precisely when weight loss stopped, and it matches up. Over the past two weeks, I’ve given up gum almost entirely, and my weight loss has returned to its previous rate of about a pound a week. I’m less hungry in the afternoon, and eat less at most meals. The nicotine is a pretty big confound here, and it’s not much data, but subjectively it looks like gum might lead to decreased satiety for me.

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  5. Whoops I mean “looks like gum might lead to increased satiety for me” not decreased.

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  6. The less gum and diet pop I am using the better I feel….neither lead to weight loss.

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  7. It depends on why you carry excess weight. If you are overweight because you consume too many calories and you consume too many calories partially in response to stress, then yes, gum can help curb mindless eating. (In my case, I tend to reach for high fat carbs when work gets crazy (deadline=cookie) and gum has helped to replace these unneeded foods in my diet). Regarding this study, I don’t think 90mins per day would be enough to be effective and I don’t think gum could lead to weight loss but possibly to preventing some future weight gain.

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