Healthy Headlines: Will Chewing Gum Help or Harm Weight Loss?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A roundup of the healthy living stories making headlines this week.

Minty chewing gums may not help people lose weight
Live Science says that chomping on gum might backfire if you're trying to shed a few pounds. The minty breath fresheners make fruits and veggies taste awful, which can lead you to eat other, unhealthy foods instead.

Study links 180,000 global deaths to sugary drinks
(Big) Gulp. USA Today reports that sipping on sweetened juice, sports drinks, and soda leads to an estimated 25,000 deaths in the US alone each year, with Mexico topping the list for fatalies related to sugary beverages.

The Best Types of Salt for Cooking
Sure, we all need to limit the amount of salt we consume. That's why it matters which type we use. DailySpark contributor Bryn Mooth spills which salts are best for cooking, baking, and finishing dishes on her blog, Writes4Food.

Forget the Fryer! 7 Alternatives to Greasy Favorites
FitSugar rounded up tasty, lower-fat versions of all your favorite pub grub, from onion rings to cheese sticks. Yum!

Benefits of a 10-Minute Meditation Practice
Stress, pain, anxiety, even heart disease can all be ameliorated with a short, regular meditation practice, says Mind Body Green.

Mindfulness, Meditation, Wellness and Their Connection to Corporate America's Bottom Line
Speaking of meditation, Arianna Huffington is speaking out in favor of the stress-relief practice on Huffington Post Healthy Living.Stress costs US businesses $300 billion a year--and that's rising.

Things That Make You Break Out
Beyond stress and diet, there are plenty of things that can wreak havoc on your skin, the body's largest organ, says SELF.

Jillian Michaels' New Balancing Act
Fans of this celebrity trainer won't want to miss her interview with Fitness magazine about how being a mom has changed her workouts and healthy habits.

Scared into Shape: Training for a 545-Mile Bike Ride
Shape shares an inspiring story of how one woman used fear as a motivator to get fit and reach her goals.

Doctors Urge F.D.A. to Restrict Caffeine in Energy Drinks
If you sip on caffeinated beverages to stay alert, you'll want to read why doctors are asking for new restrictions, in this NYT Well blog post.
Chickpea flatbread, packed with protein
Looking for a gluten-free, higher-protein bread swap? You might like this Washington Post recipe for chickpea flatbread, a variation on the Mediterranean bread called socca. I love making it with loads of fresh rosemary and onions.
Which story piqued your interest this week? Are there any other top stories we missed?

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I always prefer to the latest natural weight loss supplement, Trimulean. It gives you the much needed respite. It certainly is the best chewable dietary supplement. Report
I don't like mint gum. I chew a sugar-free cinnamon gum with xylitol, which is good for your teeth and each piece only has 1.7 calories. It's helped me to stop snacking and I feel has helped my weight loss quite a bit - I'm now just over six pounds from my goal. If I am hungry and it's not time to eat, I'll chew a piece of gum, go on with what I was doing and sometimes almost forget to eat my next meal. Report
Regarding the chewing gum article:
These studies are just stupid. Chewing gum does not in itself help anyone lose weight nor does it, in itself, negatively impact weight loss efforts. The only way to lose weight is to make sure you take in less calories than what you burn. If you are motivated to stick with your eating plan, then chewing gum can be a helpful tool to keep your mouth busy, or something to distract you when you know you need to wait a while longer for a meal or snack. Every single one of these studies seems to leave out the most important fact you must control your calorie intack, and keep leading people on to believe that in order to lose weight all they need to do is chew gum (or not chew gum) or drink diet soda, or not drink diet soda, and the list goes on. Diet soda doesn't make you fat either, but if you are not sufficiently motivated to stick to your calorie controlled plan, you may allow yourself to give in to cravings, and you may claim those cravings increase when you drink it, or chew gum. If that happens to you, stop chewing gum and drinking diet soda. But realize it is not the products themselves that "cause" you to make the food choices that you make. Report
Seems reasonable that if gum stops my desire for binge eating it would also stop the desire to munch healthy snacks......two sides of the coin. Report
I use Dentyne Fire as my "you are finished eating now" signal. I chew a piece when I'm comfortably full and it keeps me from mindlessly munching if we are eating out.
it's also great to keep me from taste testing too much while I cook.

so it all depends on how you go about things =) Report
Can't chew gum to lose weight if you have TMJ anyway.....
Several of these are pretty scary, but I am always looking for any stress relieving ideas. Report
Chewing gum makes fruits and vegetables taste bad?? Never had that problem. I chew a type of gum that has a fiber in it to help clean teeth. At my last dental check-up, my dentist said, "Whatever you are doing, keep doing it." So, chewing gum it is!!

BTW--any adult should know what fruits and vegetables taste like. If those people were truly dedicated to eating a healthy diet, they'd find something to clear their palate, and then eat what they were supposed to. Some people will find an excuse for anything. Report
First of all gum, it'll leave air in your system and add gasses to your intestines and gasses in which you will bloat. and cavaties. Report
people with insulin resistance tend to think they need something sweet after a meal. For that reason, I keep sugar free gum on me at all times. It helps with the craving and keeps me from eating chocolate instead. Report
I use to chew a lot of gum when I was younger I guess I need to get back to doing that again Report
@NDTEACHER1 I totally agree with you!! I often use gum to curve sweet cravings, I am usually not hungry or bored, just get a strong craving for something sweet. I pop a piece of gum and if it doesn't completely curve my craving I snack on blueberries and granola. Report
I chew gum when I feel like bingeing so I would not agree with this article. Report
the comments are at least as useful, if not more, than the articles. Thanks Sparkers! Report
I have to say the gum study surprises me. I am currently chewing gum and tend to do that at least once or twice a day. I have this tendency to want to eat when I am not hungry and the best way to distract myself is to chew some gum and get out of the kitchen. But then I have this slightly obsessive relationship with food. Report
Gum is my secret weapon (preceded only by water and portions). It helped me shed 65lbs. Report
For a mindless eater chewing gum helps me. When I'm craving sweets or just anything in general I pop in a piece of gum and I'm good. The craving goes away because I have something to keep me occupied. I have no ill side effects to this whatsoever. I don't believe the study was done with "real" dieters. Report
Gotta love these comments! We Sparkers seem to have healthy eating and living down pat while the experts are still guessing. Kind of like the medical specialists who are still "practicing" medicine who can't come up with a definite diagnosis for my daughters seizures/mini strokes. ;-) Report
Their experiments were flawed. They had people playing slot machines in order to win fruit or junk food. What rational person who understands the benefits of a good, healthy diet plays slot machines?

If their studies were more REAL life... having people study boring material or perform boring house cleaning tasks, I'll bet they would have gotten better results. I know that chewing gum and drinking flavorful iced tea both help me stay away from foods with calories. All I want is something to give me energy to get me through the task. If I have something flavorful, my brain is tricked into thinking I am getting something that provides energy.

The other portion of the study assumed that people were heavy because they ate too much at mealtimes. However, some people eat perfectly normal portions at meals but are overweight because of snacking between mealtimes.

Not snacking between meals, when not really hungry, does lead to lasting weight loss. Report
Chewing gum all day long helps me NOT the "experts" can pack sand! Gotta love their "studies" & the results....craziness. Just give me common sense, thanks. Report
When I am at parties with buffets, or any other situation where I might mindlessly graze my way past my calories limits, I use chewing gum. Once I have finished my portion, I stick a piece of minty, sugarfree gum in my mouth and that keeps me from snacking on chips and dip, or a second helping of the dessert I accounted for in my daily allowance. Once the gum goes in, I am closed to anything but water. Report
I have gum that taste like my favorite desserts. When I'm having a sweet tooth I chew on that gum and I feel satisfied. My all time favorite is key lime pie, it's 35 calories and taste awesome. Let's see 35 calories with a flavor that last about an hour or 400+ calories with a flavor that last 5 minutes? As far as not wanting fruits or veggies, my family of gum chewers doesn't experience that problem Report
I won't stick other food in my mouth when I have gum in it, so that is the biggest benefit of chewing sugarless gum for me. It saves me LOTS of calories daily by preventing mindless snacking. Report
I've also found chewing gum to be a useful tool in preventing mindless eating. It fills my need to chew on something and the minty flavor makes me feel as though I'm actually eating something. It's got me through many a restless night when I otherwise would have turned to food. It might not work for everyone, but it's sure been a big help to me. Report
When I first started on SP and made the decision to lose 30 lbs, I found gum chewing very helpful at times; especially at the office when donuts, cookies and other unhealthy choices were left out on the kitchen counter. Like everything else, some strategies work for some, but not for others. It's an individual journey. Report
Minty gum makes EVERYTHING taste bad. I often chew it, or drink mint tea, when I'm baking so I don't munch on the cookies.

@Annesylvia - Try making some herbal tea in fruit flavors & serve it cold to your kids. They come in lots of flavors, like peach and other combinations. Your kids might like them.

I restrict my salt intake. DH has high blood pressure and we've used Morton's Lite Salt in the salt shakers for close to 15 years. I actually like the taste of foods without salt, especially fresh vegetables. I always ask for foods to be prepared without salt, and I've sent vegetables back at restaurants if they come out seasoned. To me, salt overpowers the natural taste of vegetables, not enhances it. Report
Interesting about the many kinds or salts and their various uses. Report
I am going to read several of these articles. First, which salt is best to cook to with and one or two others. However, the surgery drinks article, I will read with my 9yo son and 7yo daughter. Then maybe they will understand why "mommy" limits their "fun" drinks to 1 or 2 a day. All I hear Is how other parents let their kids drink all they want. I don't care what other parents do. I want my kids to live to have real active fun not drink their fun!!!! And now I will have written proof. Report
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