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Can Chewing Gum While Walking Help You Lose Weight?

Can chewing gum while you walk really help you shed pounds?

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if losing weight were as easy as taking a magic pill? Of course, a fictional, magic pill to effortlessly drop pounds is far-fetched, but what about a magic piece of gum? New research out of Japan suggests that burning more calories may be as easy as popping in a piece of chewing gum.

Previous studies have proven that chewing gum increases energy expenditure and heart rate in individuals at rest, but this study aimed to specifically look at the effect that gum-chewing had on people who were walking.

The Study

This recent study, published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, involved 46 participants between the ages of 21 and 69 years old and included both men and women. The heart rate of the participants accelerated when the researchers gave them gum to chew while they walked at a normal, natural pace.

The study volunteers participated in two walking trials, each lasting 15 minutes in duration. In one walking trial, the participants chewed two pieces of gum (the gum contained three calories). For comparison purposes, the participants walked a second trial after they consumed a powder mixture that contained the exact same ingredients that were in the gum.

The researchers measured the resting heart rate and walking heart rate in the participants in both trials. They also measured their walking speed, the number of steps they took, and the distance they walked at their natural pace. The average heart rate measured was significantly higher among all participants in the gum-chewing trial of the study. In men over the age of 40 years, it not only upped their heart rate, it also increased the total number of steps they took, the total distance they walked, and the total calories they burned.

Why does gum-chewing increase your heart rate? Although this study did not measure the reason behind the correlation, the scientists who developed and completed the study believe that it may be related to a natural phenomenon called “cardio-locomotor synchronization” where your heart beats rhythmically with some type of repetitive motion (in this case, the rhythmic mastication of the gum).

Since overweight and obesity have become such a pandemic, it is critically important to seek effective preventive measures and treatment for obesity and all of the diseases for which it increases your risk, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and several cancers.

While it is certainly not a cure-all, chewing a piece of gum while you go for a walk definitely won’t hurt — just “chews” your gum wisely and select sugar-free gum to protect your teeth and gums.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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