Chewing gum may not be the best move during a job interview or client visit, but it can definitely help you lose weight. You probably don’t always eat because you are genuinely hungry. Sometimes you may want to eat something because of your mood. You may want to eat because you are restless or even bored. That restless or bored mood is when chewing gum becomes your handy tool for weight control.
Cravings for snacks usually come by late afternoon. You are not really hungry, but you are tempted to reach for something that can give you an energy boost, like chocolate cream-filled cookies or a bag of potato chips. If you get the late-afternoon munchies, wait before you reach for those cookies, or that super-sized bag of chips. Try chewing gum instead.
The ability to satisfy snack cravings by chewing gum was shown in a study where participants were offered gum after lunch. They were allowed to chew regular or sugarless gum, whichever they wanted. No matter which type of gum they chose, their reaction was the same. They said it was not hard to pass up sugary snacks hours after lunchtime after they had chewed gum. Another college study about afternoon snacking showed similar results. Participants who chewed gum after lunch did not feel like giving in to cravings for sweet snacks.
Coffee, Gum, and the Check
Cravings in the late afternoon are not the only times you may find gum useful. When dining out, try chewing a piece of gum after your main meal. The waiter might come over with a pastry trolley that tempts you to try a calorific dessert even though the main meal left you feeling full. Chewing gum might be just the answer to help you easily tell the waiter, “No thanks, just coffee and the check.”
Gum for Focus
Soldiers in battle have been given chewing gum to sharpen their concentration and to ease the tension of being constantly in danger. This use of chewing gum as an anchor for mental focus bears some relevance to what you need when trying to lose weight. You may be doing some office work or a task around the house when recurring thoughts of cake and fried clams make it hard to concentrate on whatever you are doing.
Are those thoughts coming from genuine hunger or are they coming from a need to relieve some stress? Just one stick of chewing gum might give you the answer that you need. Researchers find that gum helps you mentally focus. Their explanation is that when you chew gum, you are stimulating the brain’s hypothalamus. This is the part of the brain that helps you to stay awake, stay alert, and keep your attention on the task that you are trying to complete.
So, by all means continue with your plan to eat healthier meals using vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and complete proteins–-and add a stick of gum into your daily eating plan. That gum, as a between-meals snack or right after meals, can help you resist unhealthy snacks and high-calorie desserts.