Chewing gum adds to weight loss: study

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Washington, Mar 9 (UNI) "The Biggest Loser" sums up the new promise with a memorable tag line "Go from 'nice gut' 'to 'nice butt.' " A recent study funded by Wrigley suggests that gum really can help people go easy on higher-calorie snacks.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool fed 60 young adults lunches and snacks on four separate days.

On half of their visits, the subjects chewed two sticks of gum (either regular or sugar-free) in the hours after lunch. The subjects said they felt less hungry after chewing gum.

And when they were offered biscuits, chips and candy three hours after lunch, the gum-chewers consumed an average of 36 fewer calories. The type of gum didn't seem to make any difference.

If gum chewers could get the same results day after day, the small shortfall in calories could really add up to significant weight loss, says Richard Mattes, a professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University.

Unfortunately, he says, quoting in the Times. It's probably impossible to "trick" the appetite on a daily basis. "It wouldn't work indefinitely," he says. "The body corrects itself." Gum has one proven way to melt serious pounds. As recently reported in January in the British Medical Journal, a 21-year-old woman who chewed about 15 sticks of sugar-free gum each day developed out-of-control diarrhea and lost 20 pounds in just eight months.

(She weighed only about 110 pounds to begin with.) Researchers identified the culprit as sorbitol, a natural sweetener found in many types of sugar-free gum, including Wrigley's, as well as other sugar-free products.

Researchers noted that a daily dose of 20 grams of sorbitol-- the equivalent of 16 sticks of sugar-free-gum -- would likely cause dairrhoea in about half of all healthy people.

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