It’s one of those – you either chew gum or you don’t. For some, it becomes highly addictive and for those on a diet a way of preventing snacking. Stacked up near the supermarket checkout, it’s so easy to grab too, but are we buying something that’s bad for our health, or good for weight loss? We take a look…
Is chewing gum bad for you?
THE POSITIVE | Studies have found that gums sweetened with the sugar alcohol xylitol are more effective at preventing tooth decay because xylitol prevents the growth of the bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath. So, when buying gum always look for this ingredient and sugar-free so you’re not consuming high levels of sugar.
THE NEGATIVE | Generally, chewing gum is considered to be safe but some brands can contain small amounts of controversial ingredients including Aspartame which is an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free foods. Studies have linked this sweetener to problems ranging from mild diarrhoea and severe headaches to more serious complications like Gastrointestinal Problems (IBS), metabolic changes (leading you to eat more) and even cancer.
IN MODERATION | It’s a case of everything in moderation. Don’t excessively chew gum and look for alternatives. Always look at the ingredients or go for natural brands that don’t contain aspartame.
Can chewing gum help you lose weight?
THE POSITIVE | It’s a good debate, and one that isn’t proven (yet) but some studies suggest that chewing could reduce your appetite, which could prevent you from overeating throughout the day. One study found that chewing after lunch reduced snacking later in the day by around 10% – which is pretty impressive.
THE NEGATIVE | Chewing gum can also lead to swallowing air, which can cause bloating. If you’ve got a gum habit, alternate chewing gum with eating a healthy, high-fiber snack like fruit, our low-calorie Exante Protein Wafers or even our healthy Exante Protein Popcorn.
DEBATABLE | Chewing gum could help you cut calories and lose weight. It may also help reduce feelings of hunger and help you eat less, although the results are inconclusive. Also, as we’ve mentioned, watch out for bloating that may come from chewing gum.