Can chewing gum reduce face fat?

It’s not clear whether gum or other kinds of chewing gum cause fat loss, according to a study published in the December/January issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which Dr. Brian Wansink, director of oral medicine at Northwoods Medical Group in Westchester, N.Y., and members of several other nutrition committees were given a set of 20 gums, then asked to chew the gums for 10 minutes at a time.

There’s no reason to believe that gum or any other gum prevents fat loss when eaten alone, but Wansink suspects that gum may decrease it. “Maybe it’s not something that’s going to happen if you put chewing gum in the mouth all the time or don’t chew gum at all, but the possibility that it may be a problem,” says Wansink.

One of the gum types tested and the two gum types that were consumed were made by one company, Gillette. A study by researchers at Dartmouth College and published in the December-January 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which subjects ate a food, or were given a specific type of food, and then chewed or ate gum for three minutes, did not find that gum caused weight loss. Instead, it suggested that gum was “a safe, inexpensive aid to weight reduction.”

There was one study that found gum helps curb weight in obese adults. The study found that when someone eats gum and then continues to eat normally afterward, their waist girth, which was measured after they were removed from the study, rose by 0.09 inches (0.17 inches in men and 0.23 inches in women). This may sound like small change — and it isn’t. But if that 0.09 inch increase in waist girth is enough to prevent weight gain for four years, then it’s better than a mere 0.04 inch.

If gum can help with weight loss, there are three more possibilities. First, it may help people cut back on eating a great deal more than the recommended amount. Second, it might be helpful in cutting back on cigarettes, which are another major contributor to obesity. Third, chewing it may help people lose weight during pregnancy.

If the research is true, it could also help with other weight-management problems, such as gaining weight after weight loss, says Wansink. People who are overweight tend to eat a lot and gain a lot; if they can avoid more foods that increase their sat