Losing weight can be as easy as walking and chewing gum, literally. Several studies suggest that chewing gum produces a number of effects, psychologically and physically, that can assist people in their quest to shed extra-pounds. The benefits of chewing gum have even resulted in brands to market themselves as a dietary supplement.

Chemical properties found in sugarless gum, sorbitol and xylitol, act as nutritive sweeteners that are slowly metabolized when consumed and, in turn, can suppress appetite. One stick of sugar-free gum contains a negligible amount of calories, which spurs a surplus of advantages. Not only is the mouth preoccupied and taste buds satisfied, the desire to indulge in fatty foods is diminished.

Research from the University of Rhode Island showed people who chew gum consumed 68 fewer calories at lunch. They didn’t eat more later in the day as well. Chewing gum also helped satisfy their cravings and resist fattening treats. A side bonus, chewing gum actually burned around 5% more calories than non-gum chewers.

Another similar study from Louisiana State University, indicated that gum chewing was helpful in appetite control, decreasing daily caloric intake by 40, and less cravings for snacks.

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There have been recent developments of gum that is strictly created for this purpose. They also have anti-oxidents in them which have all sorts of health benefits.

Proper diet and exercise create the foundation of any legitimate weight loss program, but a stick of gum can be the secret weapon in anyone’s dietary tool chest. Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles in maintaining a healthy lifestyle is resisting temptation, sugar being the culprit for many a people with a sweet tooth. A glazed doughnut or a piece of cake always seems to offer itself during moments of struggle. Self-control is no easy task, especially when a fresh pastry is cooking in the same room. However, by chewing on a piece of gum, one is less likely take the bait and thwart a morning workout session. Similar to drinking a glass of orange juice after brushing your teeth, eating food after spitting out a piece of gum doesn’t mesh well, which makes it a welcome deterrent to pigging out on comfort foods.

Rather than drooling over a cafe counter displaying a tray of cinnamon rolls, chewing gum retains saliva in the mouth and helps generate necessary lubrication and remineralization for sufficient oral health and hygiene. Stimulating saliva by chewing gum clears food particles and debris, in addition to strengthening dental enamel. In fact, studies suggest that chewing gum for 15-20 minutes after a meal helps prevent tooth decay.

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Sometimes the mind plays tricks, so it’s only fair to return the fun. Following a strict diet can send the brain into a tailspin during the initial stage. Cravings and urges beckon the body to its familiar routine, one of self-abuse and gluttony. Like twiddling thumbs, chewing a piece of gum provides a distraction that enables the mind and body to run a proverbial treadmill. Exercise with caution, though. Perpetually grinding molars into a viscous substance can do a number the jaw. Also, excessive intake (over 10 grams per day) of sorbitol and xylitol may lead to stomach cramps, flatulence, and recurrent bowel movements throughout the day. Of course, a supplement does not equate to a substitute; moderation is a pillar for success.

Despite some uncomfortable and completely avoidable side-effects, chewing gum can be a helpful crutch to anyone in pursuit of a well-balanced diet.