Gum Chewing Study; New Research Shows Gum Makes You Smarter, Not Thinner

By iScienceTimes Staff on March 27, 2013 3:53 PM EDT

Gum chewing study
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that gum might actually hurt your diet. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A gum chewing study published in the British Journal of Psychology has shown that gum chewing helps you study by increasing the amount of oxygen in the areas of the brain associated with attention. The Huffington Post reports that the researchers in the gum chewing study had two groups of 20 people each listen to a 30-minute recording that included a sequence of numbers.

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After listening, the participants were asked to remember the sequence. The group that chewed gum were shown to be more accurate in the number of items they could remember, as well as posting faster reaction times. Researchers in the gum chewing study noted that those chewing gum during the study were able to maintain focus for longer periods of time.

Another gum chewing study making headlines dispels the myth that gum chewing helps fight off the urge to snack. In fact, the research suggests that gum chewing could actually derail your dieting efforts. According to the April issue of the journal Eating Behaviors, a gum chewing study revealed that it can lead to cravings for snack foods instead of veggies because the menthol in minty gum causes an off-putting taste when combined with fruits and veggies.

 "We were interested in seeing 'Does this really help with weight loss?'" study co-author Christine Swoboda, a doctoral candidate in nutrition at Ohio State University, told Live Science.

People "ate less fruits and vegetables, because in their head, they thought 'I have to chew gum before every meal - do I really want a snack of grapefruit?'" she said, according to Live Science. "Whereas, they were like, 'I'm so hungry I'm going to eat this double cheeseburger and it will taste the same.'"

Yvonne Beeler, program director for the local Jenny Craig Weight Loss Center, said there are no dietary benefits to chewing gum.

"Chewing gum alone is not going to help you lose weight," she told The Independent Florida Alligator. "It is just a strategy while you're doing other things to lose weight, to make sure you don't sit there and eat something else you shouldn't really be eating."

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