Have you ever been hungry and decided to pop a piece of gum in your mouth? But wouldn’t that just make you hungrier? Chewing gum stimulates the gastric juices, meaning there is more saliva. You then swallow the saliva and your stomach thinks there is food coming down. When no food comes down, you become hungry. It is like chewing food but spitting it out. The body thinks it is getting food and nutrients but ends up getting nothing.
To test this, one experiment was done that made contributors chew gum before every meal and track their food in a food diary. The results were that the ones who chewed gum before eating their meals ate less, but the meals they consumed had a lot more calories and a lot less nutritious foods.
Another study took a completely different route. This University of Rhode Island study showed people who chew gum eat 68 fewer calories at their lunch, while avoiding sugary foods. Louisiana State University says chewing gum can help control appetite, decreasing their normal calorie amount by 40 calories.
One more article showed that chewing gum does not lessen amount of food ingested or hunger. They said although they technically ate less meals, they just ate more at those meals. They also said people who chew gum eat more junk food because the minty taste makes healthy foods taste bad, similar to brushing your teeth then drinking orange juice.
Almost every study about chewing gum is different. For example, “Appetite” in May 2007 studied that chewing gum 15 minutes per hour after lunch made people want salty snacks not sweet ones. Then, in October 2011, “Appetite” did another study with chewing gum 15 minutes per hour after lunch and found that those people ate 10% less in general for their snack three hours later.
There really is no right answer to this problem. Personally, I would think it would make one hungrier because they are chewing and not swallowing anything. Maybe some better studies could be done. They could feed people of the same health, diet, and age the same exact meals and then give half of them gum to chew and half of them not. This would be a controlled double-blind trial, making it able to be more accurate. After a month of doing this, one could check what the control groups ate after they chewed the gum later in the day. They would be given a plate of food each night and told to eat as much as they were hungry for. Then, scientists could check the results and see how chewing gum really affects one’s appetite.
With so many different conclusions, it could be hard to settle on a decision. Who knows, maybe one day my personal experiment will be done and that will be the final answer. Only time will tell…