Sticky but healthy
It's true. Real doctors have proven that chewing gum can actualy help you stay slim. A year ago, endocrinologist James Levine of the Mayo Clinic shocked the world by announcing that people who fidget tend to lose weight. Now he comes along with another proof that minor amounts of chewing (call it gum-aerobic exercise!) can reduce body weight.
After observing how rapidly people chewed gum -- they average 100 chomps per minute -- Levine put some subjects in a chamber that measured how much energy they were putting out. That came to 11 calories per hour -- a 20 percent increase over normal resting values. (We Why Filers, working in America's Dairyland, were intrigued to learn that cows use the same proportion of energy to work their enormous jaws!).
Levine did the math and figured that an average peson could lose 11 pounds a year just by gnawing gum. And that doesn't even count the effort expended to get bubble gum off your upper lip...
So what's the rub?
Well, you'd have to masticate a massive gob of gum to get the benefits. And while you would remove it from your yap while eating more conventional foods, for the rest of your waking hours, you'd have to wag your jaw like a U.S. Senator in full filibuster.
BTW, Levine says he got no support from the gum combine. He says the point was not to hype chewing gum, but rather to point out that bustling, fluttering and fussing can add up to major calorie sinks. Or as he told The New York Times: "Very minor changses in non-exercise activity can have an impact on energy expenditure."
Here's another take on that idea: getting kids to spend less time in front of televisions, computers and Game Boys seems to reduce the rate of obesity, according to a new study (see "Reducing Children's Television... " in the bibliography) .