Question: I want to use chewing gum to help curb my food cravings, but my friend told me that chewing gum actually increases food cravings. I want to lose weight and need something to help me from snacking.
Heather: While some people believe that chewing gum tricks the stomach into thinking it will receive food causing food cravings; however, research is to the contrary. In fact, a study released last year reported that chewing gum aids in weight control. Specifically, chewing gum before a snack can help reduce hunger and food cravings. It can also help you avoid mindless eating because your mouth is already busy.
However, the key to this study is that participants found alternatives to unnecessary snacking. If you enjoy chewing gum and like to keep your mouth busy than it may help but be sure that you chose a sugar free gum to limit calories.
Chewing gum is not the only trick to controlling snacking. For people who do not like to chew gum, other things can distract you from eating triggers. I enjoy knitting and find that working on a knitting project helps control snacking because my hands are busy. Some friends of mine find it helpful to paint their fingernails and others brush their teeth.
Another option is to factor snacks into you meal plan. In fact, eating regularly throughout the day helps you burn more calories because it helps keep your metabolism on an even keel. Instead of eating three large meals, divide your daily calories into three meals and three snacks.
It’s important to understand that snacking does not cause weight gain but consuming excess calories does. If you’ve built snacks into your meal plan and you aren’t over consuming calories, you can snack without gaining weight.
People who have successfully lost weight and kept it off, report making lifestyle changes instead of dieting. It is important to find weight loss methods that fit into your lifestyle and your eating preferences. Make changes that you can maintain over the course of your life. If snacking is not something you can give up forever, build it into your lifestyle in a healthy way.
Published On: January 16, 2008