Oral processing effort, appetite and acute energy intake in lean and obese adults

Physiol Behav. 2013 Aug 15:120:173-81. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2013.08.013. Epub 2013 Aug 15.


Chewing reportedly contributes to satiation and satiety signals. Attempts to document and quantify this have led to small and inconsistent effects. The present trial manipulated oral processing effort though required chewing of gums of different hardness and measured appetitive sensations, energy intake, gastric emptying, GI transit time, and concentrations of glucose, insulin, GLP-1, ghrelin and pancreatic polypeptide. Sixty adults classified by sex and BMI (15 each of lean females, obese females, lean males and obese males) were tested in a randomized, controlled, cross-over trial with three arms. They chewed nothing, soft gum or hard gum for 15 min while sipping grape juice (10% of individual energy needs) containing acetaminophen and lactulose on one day each separated by 7 days. Electromyographic recordings and self-reports were obtained during and after chewing to quantify oral processing effort. Blood was sampled through an indwelling catheter and appetite ratings were obtained at baseline and at 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 180 and 240 min after chewing initiation. Breath samples were collected at 10 min intervals for the first 2h and at 30 min intervals for the next 2h. No effects of chewing were observed for appetitive sensations or gut peptide concentrations. Energy intake tended to decline in lean and increase in obese participants so that daily energy intake differed significantly between the two groups when chewing either gum, while no difference was observed on the non-chewing day. Serum glucose and insulin were significantly lower at selected time points 90-240 min after chewing compared to baseline and the non-chewing day. These data indicate chewing effort does not affect appetitive sensations or gut peptide secretion, but may exert a small differential effect on acute energy intake in lean and obese individuals and lead to greater post-prandial declines of serum glucose and insulin. The efficacy of gum chewing as a substitute for eating for weight management remains uncertain.

Keywords: Appetite; Chew; Gum; Hunger; Obesity; Satiety.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Bite Force
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chewing Gum
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Electromyography
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / physiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Mastication / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Satiety Response / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Chewing Gum
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones
  • Insulin