Although chewing gum has been considered a potential method for reducing energy intake, little empirical data exist to support this idea. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that chewing gum before eating reduces motivation to eat, hunger, and energy intake. In order to test this hypothesis, we conducted two experiments in which participants chewed gum prior to completing a food reinforcement task or before all eating occasions for two of three weeks. In Experiment 1, we found that chewing gum had no influence on the reinforcing value of food, but chewing mint gum reduced liking of and energy intake from fruit. In addition, chewing gum reduced self-reported hunger immediately after gum chewing and after eating compared with the no gum condition. In Experiment 2, gum chewing had no significant effect on total energy intake, but participants consumed fewer meals, consumed more energy per meal, and had a lower nutrient adequacy ratio during the gum chewing weeks. These studies provide no evidence that acute or chronic gum chewing reduces hunger or energy intake. In fact, chewing mint-flavored gum may deter consumption of fruit and reduce diet quality.
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