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Study: Chewing sugar-free gum has no big effect on weight loss

November 11, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • A study finds that chewing gum may not help in the effort to lose weight.
A study finds that chewing gum may not help in the effort to lose weight. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Some people chew sugar-free gum as a weight loss strategy, but does it work? An recent online study in the journal Obesity finds that chewing gum daily may have no effect on losing weight.

The eight-week studyincluded 201 overweight or obese adults, about half of whom were randomly put in an intervention group and told to chew gum daily for at least 90 minutes at specific times throughout the day. The others were part of a control group that did not chew gum. Both groups were given nutritional information and told to continue their regular activity programs.

By the end of the study there were no significant changes in weight or body mass index in either group. Waist circumference and blood pressure decreased slightly in both groups, but by about the same amount. In a questionnaire taken by those in the gum group, there was moderate agreement that chewing gum diminished snack cravings and helped them stay on their diets and cut back on eating after meals and late at night.

In the study, which was funded by a grant from the Wrigley Science Institute, the authors noted that longer studies may be needed to see if gum chewing has any "likely subtle effects" on body weight and other markers of weight loss and health.

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