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A new study finds that chewing gum, especially the mint variety, won't curb your appetite or help you lose weight. In fact, chewing minty gum may lead you to reach for chips and candy versus fruits and vegetables, the researchers say.
Published in the April issue of the journal Eating Behaviors, the study finds that mint gums can alter the taste of fruits and vegetables, making it more tempting to reach for something less healthy, LiveScience reports.
Researchers from the University at Buffalo in the US asked 44 volunteers to play a gambling-style game with food as the prize, with some subjects playing for orange slices and grapes, while others played for potato chips and M&Ms. Prior to playing the game, half of the participants chewed either a fruit-flavored gum or a mint gum.
The mint-gum chewers were "significantly less" motivated to play for the fruit, while the fruit-gum chewers worked a little harder for the healthy treats, according to the report.
In a second experiment involving subjects keeping a food journal, participants who chewed minty gum before every meal ate fewer meals, but not fewer calories.
The culprit could be the menthol in mint, which interacts with nutrients in fruits and veggies to create a bitter flavor, which subsequently turns people off of the healthy foods, Swoboda told LiveScience.
Access the study: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1471015313000123
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