Does Chewing Gum Cause Weight Gain – Or Weight Loss?

Does male model Bernardo Velasco need to worry about gaining weight from his bubble gum? Probably not, research says.

I’ll admit that I had a secret agenda when penning this post. One of my biggest pet peeves is loud gum-chewers, especially when that chewing is done at the gym. For some reason, I really let it annoy me. Perhaps I need a hobby.

Long ago, I heard something of an urban legend: If you chew gum, it signals to your brain (and then stomach), that you are eating. When no food enters the stomach, the brain thinks that starvation is occurring – and as a result, the metabolism is lowered and weight gain becomes imminent when food is finally ingested. In fact, I’ve used this theory against the loud gum-chewers in my life, as I often find myself saying, “You know that stick of gum will make you gain weight, right?” It almost always works to disarm the chewer.

Turns out, I haven’t been able to find any support for this urban legend – though some folks tangentially claim that chewing gum does increase hunger. And since sugary sweetness is addictive, it’s possible that chewing gum can make you crave other sweet and potentially unhealthy foods.

Unfortunately for me, most of the research points to chewing gum as a weight loss or weight management tool. In fact, a UK study from 2007 showed that chewing gum:

  • Reduced caloric intake. Gum chewers reduced sweet snack intake by 39 calories and salty snacks were decreased by 11 calories.
  • Suppresses hunger.
  • Decreases stress, elevates moods and increases relaxation.

Other studies confirm the calorie-reduction findings of the UK study, most reporting that caloric intake for gum chewers was reduced by 30 – 50 calories. Moreover, chewing gum burns an extra 11 calories an hour. Woot, woot.

Of course, all of this needs to be taken into perspective; 30 – 50 calories is about a bite of cake, or a few minutes on a treadmill. And most people can make much bigger weight loss strides through an improved diet and exercise program.

It’s also worth noting that excessively chewing sugar-free gums made with sorbitol have been linked to extreme weight loss and diarrhea. A pack of gum a day isn’t a good idea. My mom always says, “Everything in moderation.”

If moderate gum chewing does have an impact on your weight, it appears to be fairly small and possibly negligible. Looks like it’s time to retire the gum-chewing weight gain urban legend once and for all. Damn it.

About Davey Wavey

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Comments

  1. AXOLOTL15 says:

    My mom got TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) because of excess gum chewing when she was younger. It’s led to a bunch of complications as an adult… She’s had a lot of surgery done, and chewing something for extended periods of time causes her a lot of pain. I agree with Davey, moderation is key.

    • Chewing gum can also make you gassy! Just saying…

      • christopher says:

        these days no matter what-i get gas-im taking after my father-maybe its genetic?

        • AXOLOTL15 says:

          Ugh, me too! I wasn’t so gassy before… A few months back I started taking Activia yogurt, which has active bacteria cultures that balance your intestinal flora, but the relief is only temporary because if I stop taking it I start farting a lot again (I don’t care if this is TMI… XD). It’s really annoying.

          Davey, any tips on how to avoid or diminish gas with our diet?

    • Poor your mom. i bet shes better now! Me and my friend are doing a speech on chewing gum and why it should be banned!

  2. There is only one problem: pancreatic cancer. If you chew sweet stuff without eating any your pancreas produces liquids that might cause cancer if not used for digestion.

  3. Chewing gum is also good for your teeth. It promotes saliva production, which helps to wash away bacteria and prevent plaque from forming.

  4. I ended up getting really sick two years ago but the doctor couldn’t figure it out. On tv there was a fitness freak that cheweed gum daily ( bout 2 packs a day, same as me ) and ended up in hospital . I stopes chewing gum, problems went away

  5. I only chew one stick of Orbit at work after I eat to keep my breath so fresh so clean clean. It has the added benefit of not needing something to drink all the time. I just don’t smack my gum or anything.

  6. Since most overweight people seem to always need to be doing something oral, I guess gum is better than cheese.

    • christopher says:

      i concur.

    • christopher says:

      im now gonna chew just a little sugar-free gum everyday-that just might curb my appetite-prevent overeating-and continue my weightloss.this moderate gum chewing-might just do the trick-thanx-DW.

  7. I’m a gum chewer, but try not to be a LOUD gum chewer LOL. It doesn’t always work and I occasionally will smack my gum unconsciously.

    That’s beside my point though. I dislike when people talk to me with bad breath, and as such, I try not to be like that to others, so I almost always chew gum after I eat.

    • Gum chewing is so out of hand. People who chew gum with their mouth wide open need to be taught some lessons in manners. If you watch them with a high speed camera you can see very fine spit flying out of their mouths. DISGUSTING!

  8. This was a while ago I was a few tears back I was unwell constantly headaches bad gutts , when I get home from work I’ll see of I can find it for you

  9. maybe open a gym in singapore?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewing_gum_ban_in_Singapore

    ~ cheers….

  10. I found that chewing bubble gum usually loosened my teeth so I quit chewing most all gum.

  11. Chewing sugar-free gum has helped me to lose a lot of weight. I use to chew about 4 a day but found that cuting the long soft gum in half I still get all the benifits of chewing (just smaller pieces) but without the extra calories and sorbit or alternative sugars.

    I decided that chewing 2 pieces of gum a day is not that bad compared with what i used to do which was to eat junk food or another meal. Total calories intake much higher when I didn’t chew gum.

    The benifits for me is it helps to stop my overeating, if I was with friends and they had desert (I was always tempted to have desert) but i just chew a piece of gum and straight away its fine. And as a shift worker and nurse (people allways bringing in chocolates, cake, other junk food) chewing gum has saved me so many times ๐Ÿ™‚

    I agree with people should close their mouths when they chew. I never chew till the point of my jaw being sore either so no problems there.

    Chewing gum is not that bad. I agree too about this article. chewing gum is like a cigarette (though i dont smoke)it does help you de-stress.

    I say go for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. As chewing gums contain the artificial sweetener aspartame (provided its sugarfree) i have to mention aspartame activates insuline in our bodies which actually prevents the body of bzrning fat and even increases fat storage! Moderation is the key although u shouldnt trick your stomach. The same effect is given concerning any drinks such as coke light zero etc. My advice: eat complex carbs and healrht food instead if not eating anything!

  13. I totally agree with you.I always questioned whether or not chewing gum was a good or bad thing for me.

  14. I HATE LOUD GUM CHEWERS that is exactly how I got on this page…trying to find some evidence that I can send to my loud gum chewing coworker…alas…I just have to tell her to stop chewing her gum like two dollar hooker.

  15. shit i chew gum a lot and i wear braces i know right really stupid but im like sooo adddicted in school. but i put on some weight over the years and i heard you can lose weight chewing gum so i went along with it cause even when i lose weight i feel fat but im not anorexic or anything its just really har to lose it and then theres peer pressure and how every girl wants the perfect body makes you feel fat so yeah thats about it i really wanna lose weight