Gum for weight loss seems like a great idea. After all, chewing gum increases your metabolism and you can burn over 30 calories each hour of chewing gum. This may not seem like a lot, but if you chew gum three hours a day, this adds up. Gum for weight loss probably isn’t a bad idea if you use the right kind of gum and plenty of it. But is this really the best way to lose weight?
Does Gum Help You Lose Weight?
Many people believe that chewing gum is an effective weight loss tool.
Some report it helps keep them away from mindless eating, while others swear it keeps their cravings away or helps shape their face by toning their muscles.
This article looks into the science behind these claims to determine whether chewing gum can truly help shape your face or shed unwanted weight.
Weight loss effects are likely negligible
Although not all studies agree, some research suggests that chewing gum may offer the following weight loss benefits.
May help you feel less hungry and experience fewer cravings
The action of chewing may reduce hunger, make you feel fuller, and help you experience fewer cravings, particularly for snacks
In one recent study, chewing gum reduced hunger and cravings after a 10-hour fast as effectively as drinking a calorie-rich beverage
In another study, a proportion of participants were asked to chew sugarless gum for 30 minutes following a meal. Gum chewers reported feeling fuller than non-gum-chewers as early as 5 minutes after beginning to chew
Furthermore, a recent review of 15 studies, 5 of which specifically examined gum chewing, suggests that the process of chewing may stimulate the release of specific gut hormones, in turn, reducing hunger and food intake
That said, not all studies have observed similar findings. Therefore, chewing gum may not be an effective way to reduce hunger or food intake for everyone
Moreover, research suggests that chewing gum may reduce your desire to eat fruit, possibly reducing your overall diet quality
May help you eat fewer calories
Some people like to chew gum between meals, as they believe it aids weight loss by helping them consume fewer calories during the day.
In one study, participants who chewed gum between breakfast and lunch not only felt less hungry between meals but also ate around 68 fewer calories at lunch than those who didn’t chew gum
For reference, this is approximately equivalent to 2 teaspoons (10 grams) of peanut butter or one small piece of fruit.
Similarly, other studies suggest that chewing gum after a meal may help you eat up to a 10% smaller portion of a snack 3 hours later than if you hadn’t chewed any gum
Although these findings appear promising, keep in mind that the reductions in calorie intake remain small. Plus, it’s currently unclear whether they result in significant long-term weight loss.
In addition, not all studies have found similar results. In fact, some report that gum chewing has little influence on food or calorie intake. Therefore, more research is needed before strong conclusions can be made
May help you burn slightly more calories
A few small studies suggest that the action of chewing gum may help burn a few additional calories.
In one small study, participants who chewed gum before and after breakfast burned around 3–5% more calories in the 3 hours following the meal, compared with those who didn’t chew gum
In another study, chewing gum after a meal increased diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT), which is the number of calories burned through digestion.
However, the number of extra calories burned remained very small, and simply eating the same meal more slowly was even more effective at raising DIT than chewing gum
Research further suggests that chewing gum while walking may aid weight loss. It’s believed to do so by increasing your heart rate and walking speed, possibly resulting in increased calorie and fat burning.
However, at 0.4–6 additional calories burned per 15 minutes of walking, the benefits remain small. Therefore, it’s unlikely this will produce significant weight loss results without being coupled with other dietary and lifestyle changes
Moreover, some people claim that chewing gum may help shape your face by toning your muscles. However, no research supports this claim.
Chewing gum may help reduce hunger and cravings, increase feelings of fullness, and help you eat less. It may also help you burn slightly more calories per day. However, it’s unclear whether any of these effects would result in long-term weight loss.
Are certain types of gum more helpful than others?
Chewing gum comes in several varieties, including sugar- and nicotine-containing, sugar-free, and caffeinated gums.
Certain varieties are commonly believed to help you lose more weight than others, even though research comparing their effects is often lacking.
Sugar is considered unhelpful when trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain. This is why sugar-free gum is typically considered superior to sugar-containing gum.
That said, regular gum only contains 2 more calories per 2-gram piece than sugar-free gum. Such a small difference is unlikely to help you lose more weight
It’s also worth keeping in mind that sugar-free gum often contains artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame or sucralose, which are linked to poor gut health, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity
They may also contain sugar alcohols like sorbitol, which is known to cause cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhea, especially when consumed in amounts exceeding 5–20 grams per day
This typically amounts to 4–16 pieces of gum per day, depending on the brand of sugar-free gum.
Nicotine, a compound typically found in cigarettes, is known to reduce appetite, causing people to eat less. In addition, nicotine may slightly raise your metabolism, causing your body to burn a few extra calories per day
This may explain why people chewing nicotine gum while attempting to quit smoking often gain less weight than those chewing regular gum or not chewing any gum at all
That said, nicotine is highly addictive and has various detrimental effects on your health. Therefore, unless you’re trying to quit smoking, chewing nicotine gum in an attempt to lose weight is not recommended
Caffeine, a compound commonly found in coffee and tea, may also help you lose weight by increasing the number of calories and amount of fat your body burns
One review including over 600 participants suggests that greater caffeine intakes may be linked to lower weight, fat mass, and body mass index (BMI)
Other studies suggest that caffeine can help you burn more fat while both resting and exercising
As such, weight loss supplements or gums containing caffeine may help you lose a little weight, at least initially. However, your body becomes accustomed to regular caffeine use over time, which may reduce its effects
Moreover, caffeine gums typically contain 25–100 mg of caffeine per piece.
Thus, chewing as little as a few pieces per day may cause you to exceed the safe daily caffeine limit of 400 mg, especially if you also consume other caffeine-containing foods or drinks.
Too much caffeine can cause you to feel jittery and have difficulty sleeping. In very high doses, it may also cause nausea, vomiting, an exceedingly fast heart rate, and even seizures. Thus, excessive caffeine intakes should be avoided
Why Does Chewing Gum Make You Lose Weight?
Chewing gum may not help you burn existing weight, but it can be considered a tool for avoiding unnecessary calories. For some people, popping a piece of gum after a meal can signal that the meal is over—reducing the urge to reach for a snack. Midday and late-night snacking largely contribute to caloric intake, so chewing gum could potentially distract someone from choosing a sugary treat or unhealthy bag of chips between meals.
Does Chewing Gum Help With Food Cravings?
One of the primary claims surrounding chewing gum for weight loss is that it can help curb cravings for unhealthy snacks. A research study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that chewing gum may reduce impulsive eating in healthy-weight individuals. It’s suggested that the stimulation from chewing can reduce appetite, so people may be less likely to experience binge eating during the day.
What Are the Benefits of Chewing Gum?
A piece of gum typically contains fewer than ten calories per piece, which won’t add much to your daily calorie count. Aside from having minty-fresh breath, chewing gum can be a practical tool for controlling food cravings until you find a healthy snack. A study from the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that chewing gum while walking may encourage individuals to walk faster and expend slightly more energy, helping to prevent age-related weight gain.
Chewing gum may provide oral health benefits as well. According to the American Dental Association, chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can increase saliva flow, which can wash away plaque biofilm and bacteria that cause caries and periodontal disease.
What Are the Disadvantages of Chewing Gum?
There aren’t any ingredients in gum that foster noticeable weight loss, but a balanced diet is a key to a healthy lifestyle. Chewing gum does not provide any nutritional value, so gum should never be considered an alternative to regular meals. Other drawbacks of chewing gum include:
No evidence suggests that chewing gum provides long-term weight loss benefits.
Chewing gum does not boost metabolism.
Many types of gum contain high sugar content, which can lead to tooth decay.
If you feel that chewing gum can help control food cravings or keep you from impulsively snacking throughout the day, consider implementing planned meals or reach for healthy snacks instead. Weight loss trends come and go, but nothing can replace the known benefits of nutritious meals and regular exercise.
Does Chewing Gum Help You Lose Weight?
You probably have your favorite flavor when it comes to your gum of choice—you may go classic peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, or bubble gum. The flavors are endless, but the pleasure of chewing gum doesn’t just stop at which flavor you pick up.
In fact, many people rely on chewing gum for weight loss. Some say it helps them control cravings. For others, it keeps them from eating otherwise calorie-laden junk. But the debate about whether chewing gum is a legit (and healthy) weight loss strategy is more encompassing than a “yes” or “no” answer.
First, the positives: evidence that chewing gum supports weight loss.
“Chewing gum may aid in weight loss by reducing cravings and subsequent calorie intake, increasing energy expenditure and by reducing stress levels,” says Staub.
One of chewing gum’s biggest benefits is its ability to help with behavior modification when it comes to mindless eating.
“For some people, it can be really helpful in weight loss if you struggle with mindless eating. If you gravitate toward pantry-based items that are full of empty calories, then that’s a great time to swap that behavior for a piece of gum,” says Jessica Crandall Snyder, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist at Vital RD.
Or if you’re a big snacker (who especially craves sweet things), gum can be a no-brainer to cut sugar cravings and simply keep your mouth preoccupied.
“Chewing gum may be a useful tool for someone who constantly feels the need to snack or who frequently engages in emotional eating. It can be used to distract someone from mindlessly eating outside of scheduled eating times and can potentially decrease cravings for sweets,” says Staub.
“For people who tend to eat when they are stressed, chewing a piece of gum could offer a good (calorie-free) solution,” she add
Does chewing gum make you fat or stifle weight loss progress?
But chewing gum to help you lose weight may also come with some negatives.
“According to one study, chewing gum might potentially discourage consumption of fruit and reduce diet quality,” says Staub.
Of course, if you’re skipping meals and hoping that gum will offer some sort of relief from hunger, this is not a healthy weight-loss strategy.
“For some people chewing gum between meals can help to reduce grazing and manage cravings. However, many people benefit from eating planned snacks during the day as a way to stabilize energy and prevent cravings,” says Staub. “We should make sure to not swap out purposeful snacks for a stick of chewing gum as this may derail weight loss efforts in the long run.”
And gum can also mess with your gut.
“For those who have digestive complaints such as bloating or gas, chewing gum might not be the best option. Chewing frequently introduces more air into your GI tract,” says Staub.
While sugar-free gum is also low in calories, the artificial sweeteners found in most are also controversial when it comes to gut health.
“Most gums contain artificial sweeteners which can disturb the gut microbiome, and possibly lead to increased hunger signals and increased fat storage,” says Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition.
If your sugar-free gum contains sugar alcohols as a sweetener, it could also leave your stomach upset.