Chewing gum could make you FAT because the minty taste makes sugary food more tempting

  • The  chemical responsible for the minty flavour in gum makes healthy food  unappealing
  • People who  chew gum eat fewer meals – but not less calories – because they chose unhealthy  foods

By  Emma Innes

PUBLISHED: 08:59 EST, 29  March 2013 |  UPDATED: 08:59 EST, 29 March 2013



It may  well give you minty-fresh breath, but chewing gum could also cause weight gain,  new research suggests.

Scientists have discovered that people who  chew gum eat more high calorie sweet foods.

This is because the chemical responsible for  the minty flavour of gum makes savoury foods, especially fruit and vegetables,  taste unpleasant.

Co-author of the study, Christine Swoboda, a  doctoral candidate in nutrition at Ohio State University, told LiveScience: ‘The chemical  change is the same reason why when you brush your teeth and then drink orange  juice, it tastes bad.

Scientists have discovered that people who chew gum eat more high-calorie, sweet foodsScientists have discovered that people who chew gum eat  more high-calorie, sweet foods

‘We were also interested in seeing whether  this helps with weight loss.’

To carry out the study, Ms Swoboda and her  colleague Jennifer Temple of the University of Buffalo, enrolled 44  volunteers.

Each candidate was asked to play a game in  exchange for food.

Some played for pieces of fruit, while others  played for crisps and sweets.

Before taking part in the experiment, half of  the volunteers had chewed either fruit gum or mint gum.

It was discovered that those who had chewed  mint flavoured gum were significantly less likely to play for as long to win  fruit as they were to win the junk food.

Those who had been eating fruit flavoured gum  were also found to be less interested in the fruit but the results were not as  conclusive.

The researchers also discovered that people  who chew gum tend to eat fewer  meals  – but that this does not translate  to fewer calories.

People who chew gum tend to eat fewer meals but that this does not translate to fewer calories 

People who chew gum tend to eat fewer meals but that  this does not translate to fewer calories

They determined this in a second experiment  during which the volunteers were asked to keep a food diary.

For  part of the time, the volunteers were asked to chew mint gum before meals, while  for the rest of the time they were simply asked to note down their food  intake.

The food diaries showed that while chewing  gum, people ate fewer meals but that they did not consume fewer calories as a  result.

Ms Swoboda said that the explanation could be  that the menthol in mint interacts with nutrients in fruits and vegetables to  create a bitter flavour and that this was making healthy foods seem  unappealing.

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