Dedicated gum chewers might truly believe that their breath freshener of choice is a helpful aid in staying healthy. After all, that time spent chewing is time you can’t be eating. But I’m sorry to inform gum-lovers that there is really no health benefit to their Violet Beauregard habit. A new study shows that gum chewing isn’t just useless, it can actually lead to nutritional deficiencies.
A study at Ohio State University found that chewing gum doesn’t lead to less calorie consumption at all. Even though chewers ate fewer meals a day, they compensated by having larger meals when they ate. Even worse, minty gum tends to make fruits and vegetables taste bitter, meaning that mint gum chewers were less likely to eat the most healthy foods.
It’s worth noting that some study participants were even chewing NutraTrim Weight Loss Gum (“boosts metabolism and helps to curb food cravings”). A fact we’re just going to present without comment. But with significant side-eyeing. If only you could see this side-eye, folks.
Considering that chewing gum is bad for your teeth, bad for your nutritional outlook, and all around reminiscent of cliche-filled movies about high school, maybe it’s just time for us all to switch to breath mints?
To give gum a fair shake in this whole thing, there was a secondary study going on in the Ohio State research that could have skewed results. The second experiment involved rewarding participants with mandarin oranges and grapes for competing in a game. Minty gum chewers didn’t play as long because of the taste bud conflicts.
At the end of the day though, gum chewing didn’t stop people from eating more calories. It simply made the caloric intake more concentrated, which is generally though to be a bad thing. Seriously, time to stick that mess under your desk where it belongs.