Chewing gum reduces appetite and cravings.
Distracting yourself from hunger has long been shown to reduce hunger and cravings. It appears that cravings, in particular, are short-lived and will dissipate if you can distract yourself for 10-20 minutes. There are many ways to distract yourself but often repetitive movements or mindless activities that you focus on the most effective mechanisms. One such means is chewing gum.
A 2011 study published in Obesity looked at chewing gum to reduce hunger. The researchers looked at the orosensory stimulation of chewing gum as a means to development satiation (reduced hunger). The researcher hypothesized that gum would provide few calories and thus satisfy the subject’s appetite and lead to suppression of cravings. The study tested the hypothesis that chewing sweetened gum will reduce subjective appetite and subsequent snack intake in moderately restrained eaters. The subjects were sixty healthy participants of which 53 were women. The subjects came to the laboratory 4 times for a standard lunch. Immediately after this meal, participants rated hunger, appetite, and cravings for sweet and salty snacks every hour until they returned to the laboratory 3 h later for a snack. On two occasions during this 3 h period participants chewed gum for at least 15 min at hourly intervals (45 min) and on two occasions no gum was chewed. On two occasions salty snacks were offered and on two occasions sweet snacks were provided. The researchers found a small, but significant reduction in snack intake and that chewing gum reduced weight of snack consumed by 10% compared to no gum. Overall, chewing gum for at least 45 min significantly suppressed rated hunger, appetite, and cravings for snacks and promoted fullness. This study demonstrated some benefit of chewing gum which could be of utility to those seeking an aid to appetite control.
This study confirms the results of a prior study.
The bottom line: Chewing gum suppresses appetite. Gum chewing may be a useful strategy for those motivated to lose or maintain weight and may aid to suppress appetite. I would argue that gum chewing may also have a distracting effect.