Chewing sugar-free gum is a well-known strategy to lose weight. It’s supposed to help us cut calories, curb cravings and ultimately reach our ideal weight. But unfortunately, chewing gum comes with a whole slew of negative side effects.
I used to chew it all the time. Even though I never liked to. I did it because I liked that it gave me fresh breath and I thought that it was good for me. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when I learned that it can actually be quite bad for you.
Before you reach for your next stick, consider these unwelcome consequences.
1. Chewing gum can increase your cravings.
When you eat something sweet, your brain releases the chemical, dopamine, to activate your brain to make you happy. Also released is the appetite-regulating hormone, leptin, which eventually informs your brain that you’re full.
Unfortunately, though, when you eat something that tastes sweet but doesn’t contain any calories, your brain still gets activated by the sweet taste. But since the calories never come, there’s nothing to deactivate. So your body continues to signal that it needs more – resulting in more cravings.
2. The chewing motion messes with your digestion.
Digestion starts in your mouth when you chew so your body can start to process food. It releases enzymes to get it ready but since the food never comes, the enzymes continue being released. Which can cause major bloating.
This results in your digestive organs getting burned out and your body is less and less likely to produce the digestive enzymes it needs when you actually do eat food. Overtime, this can lead to weight gain.
3. The minty flavor makes healthy foods taste unpleasant.
Menthol, the chemical that causes the minty flavor, reacts with fruits and vegetables which make them taste bitter and unappealing. This causes people who chew gum to be more likely to reach for junk food than healthy snacks.
If you’re reaching for foods packed with calories and without nutrients, like potato chips and cookies, it’ll be easier to pack on the pounds.
So what can you do about it?
Instead, try chewing ginger or fennel seeds for a quick breath freshener – without the negative side effects.
While at one time it seemed that chewing gum was a good idea, it turns out, it’s one habit that we’re better off without.
Personally, I was more than happy to chuck the gum and haven’t touched it since!