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Chewing Gum

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  • New research shows that chewing gum does not reduce your hunger or food intake
  • Those who chewed gum consumed fewer meals, but actually ate more at the meals they did consume; gum chewers also ate less nutritious meals than non-gum-chewers
  • People who chewed gum were less likely to eat fruit and instead were more motivated to eat junk food like potato chips and candy
  • Chewing gum may also interfere with your digestion and since most all gum contains sugar or artificial sweeteners may pose independent health risks

Study: Chewing Gum No Good for Weight Loss

April 06, 2013 | 77,061 views
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By Dr. Mercola

Chewing gum has been suggested as a simple tool to help you reduce food cravings and eat less, ultimately helping with weight loss.

There is even some research bearing this out.1 However, if you’re currently looking to lose a few (or more than a few) pounds, relying on a pack of gum is not likely to be a winning strategy, as the latest research suggests it has little impact on your weight.

Chewing Gum Does Not Reduce Hunger or Food Intake

A new series of studies2 set out to determine whether chewing gum actually reduces your motivation to eat, your hunger and how much you end up eating.

One of the studies revealed that while those who chewed gum consumed fewer meals, they ate more at the meals they did consume. Further, their meals ended up being less nutritious than those eaten by non-gum-chewers.

The second study found that people who chewed gum were less likely to eat fruit and instead were more motivated to eat junk food like potato chips and candy. This is likely because the minty flavor in the gum makes fruits and vegetables taste bitter. Researchers concluded:3

“These studies provide no evidence that acute or chronic gum chewing reduces hunger or energy intake. In fact, chewing mint-flavored gum may deter consumption of fruit and reduce diet quality.”

Why Chewing Gum May be Bad for Your Digestion

Your body was designed to activate digestion through chewing. A carefully coordinated neurological reflex activates the production of enzymes when you move your jaw in a chewing motion.The

However, chewing without eating food can be counterproductive. When you chew gum, you send your body physical signals that food is about to enter your body. The enzymes and acids that are activated when you chew gum are therefore released, but without the food they’re intended to digest.

This can cause bloating, an overproduction of stomach acid, and can compromise your ability to produce sufficient digestive secretions when you actually do eat food.

Besides this, chewing gum can cause jaw muscle imbalance (if you chew on one side more than the other) and even TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder in your jaw, which can be a painful chronic condition.

I generally recommend avoiding gum chewing, but if you do chew gum, do so only occasionally or right before a meal when the acid and enzyme stimulation may actually be beneficial.

Even Sugar-Free Gum May Damage Your Teeth

You may think there’s no harm in chewing a piece of sugar-free gum, since there’s no sugar to damage your teeth. The sugar alcohol xylitol, which is popular in sugar-free foods, has even been found to help fight tooth decay. However, a label of "sugar-free" should not automatically be taken to mean "safe for your teeth."

Sugar-free gum often contains acidic flavorings and preservatives that may in fact lead to dental erosion,4 even if it contains cavity-fighting xylitol. Unlike cavities, dental erosion is a process of incremental decalcification, which, over time, literally dissolves your teeth.

Artificial Sweeteners: Another Reason to Ditch Sugar-Free Gum

There are other health risks to artificial sweeteners commonly used in sugar-free gum as well. Aspartame, for instance, is metabolized inside your body into both wood alcohol (a poison) and formaldehyde (which is a carcinogen used as embalming fluid and is not eliminated from your body through the normal waste filtering done by your liver and kidneys). It's been linked to birth defects, cancer, brain tumors and weight gain.

Sucralose (Splenda), another common artificial sweetener used in chewing gum, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on only two human studies, the longest of which lasted only four days – even though animal studies found the sweetener was associated with decreased red blood cells (a sign of anemia), male infertility, enlarged kidneys, spontaneous abortions and an increased death rate.5

Further, consuming artificial sweeteners can cause distortions in your biochemistry that may actually make you gain weight. Studies looking at this issue show very clearly that artificial sweeteners may actually cause greater weight gain than sugar by stimulating your appetite, increasing carbohydrate cravings, and stimulating fat storage. Several years ago I wrote a book called Sweet Deception, in which I expose the many concerns related to the consumption of artificial sweeteners. If you want to learn more, this book is an excellent place to start.

Wrigley to Sell Caffeinated Gum

In a bid to hook even more people on chewing gum, Wrigley is releasing a caffeinated gum that has the equivalent caffeine as half a cup of coffee in every stick. It’s not the first caffeinated gum on the market, but it is a first for the Wrigley brand, which is likely to bring it into the mainstream market.

The gum maker has been focusing on creating “functional” or “occasion-based” reasons to chew gum and is urging stores to place the caffeinated gum alongside energy drinks in stores.

Already experts have expressed concern that the gum will provide an easy avenue for children and teens to consume caffeine, an excess of which has been linked to caffeine toxicity, stroke, anxiety, arrhythmia, and in some cases death. Plus, if you’re so tired that caffeinated gum appeals to you, your lack of energy and fatigue state is likely a result of certain lifestyle choices, such as not enough healthy food, too much processed foods and sugar, and not enough exercise and sleep, plus an overload of stress. Caffeinated chewing gum is not the solution to increasing your energy levels, just as chewing gum of any sort is not the answer to lasting weight loss.

The Secrets to Finally Lose Weight and Keep it Off

For the majority of people, severely restricting carbohydrates such as sugars, fructose, and grains in your diet will be the key to weight loss. Refined carbohydrates like breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, pretzels, and most other processed foods quickly break down to sugar, increase your insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance, which is one of the primary underlying factors of nearly every chronic disease and condition known to man, including weight gain.

As you cut these dietary villains from your meals, it is wise to replace them with healthy vegetables and fats like avocados, coconut oil, butter, olives, olive oil and macadamia nuts. The carbohydrates in vegetables have far less of a negative impact on your body than grains and sugars because the fiber in the vegetables slows the conversion to simple sugars, and improves insulin resistance.

When you cut grains and sugar from your meals, you typically will need to increase the amount of vegetables you eat, as well as make sure you are also consuming protein and healthy fats regularly. This includes saturated fats like coconut oil, which more and more research confirms can help trim your waistline.

I've detailed a step-by-step guide to this type of healthy eating program in my comprehensive nutrition plan, and I urge you to consult this guide if you are trying to lose weight. Once you've addressed your diet, exercise, particularly high-intensity activities like Peak Fitness, can truly begin to work its magic on your physique, and help boost fat loss even further.

What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.

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