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Chew on This: Gum is Good for You

Chew on This: Gum is Good for You

Willy Wonka may have invented a gum that tasted like blueberry pie, but new research shows that just plain ol’ sugar free gum may make you smile just as much as the idea of a Veruca Salt blowing up as a fat blueberry.

It’s true: After preliminary studies showed that regular chewing can help you remember names, make you thinner, whiten teeth, and more, sugar free gum is gaining ground as a good-for-you treat.

So, is it really as magical as it sounds?

A 2002 study of 75 people showed gum-chewers performed better than nonchewers on a memory test. One theory as to why this phenomenon occurs could be the fact that chewing can get your heart pumping notably more blood to the brain, according to a small Japanese study.

Chomping some Wrigley’s may also contribute to weight loss. A 2006 study showed that people who chewed gum for 15 minutes every hour after eating lunch ate 36 fewer calories three hours after the meal and pined for fewer sweets than people who didn’t chew gum. But most of the gum-chewing results are still up in the air. The truth is, snacking on too much gum may worsen jaw problems, and it can never be a replacement for proper nutrition, exercise and healthy living.

The verdict: Chew on the occasional piece of gum to fight bad breath or thwart a hankering for double fudge cake. As for its brain- and body-enhancing powers – it’s a bit too early to tell.

What's your favorite gum brand or flavor? [Eating Well]

Posted: 5/29/08