Energy balance is all about off-setting energy in (eating; food and drinks) with energy out (moving around; exercise). In this state, the body has just the right amount of energy it needs to get through the day, without weight gain or weight loss. A new study has found that chewing gum may be beneficial for some in maintaining this process.
Kathleen Melanson, a professor of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Rhode Island has found that, within individuals, when they chewed sugar-free gum, they tended to burn more calories through the day, but also consumed fewer calories over all, while feeling more energetic and less hungry than when they did not chew gum.
Each participant in this study came into the lab twice, once after chewing gum, and another time without having chewed gum, effectively acting as their own controls. Each participant chewed 3 pieces of gum, each for 20 minutes, in the morning and their calories consumed at lunch were measured. Compared to when they did not chew gum, participants consumed about 70 less calories at lunch, plus if they chewed gum before and after lunch, they also burned 5% more energy.
According to Melanson, "Based on these results, gum chewing integrates energy expenditure and energy intake, and that's what energy balance is about,". She went on to explain that there are nerves in the jaw that are stimulated when a person chews, signalling to the brain that there is no need to eat at the time being, resulting in reduced hunger and increased satiety.
Find out more about this incredible study in the article called "Chewing Gum Can Reduce Calorie Intake, Increase Energy Expenditure, Nutritionist Finds" from Science Daily (Nov. 1, 2009).