London: A new study has found chewing gum could make people fat since its minty taste makes sugary food more tempting.
Scientists found people given to 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, Daily Mail reported.
The study’s co-author Christine Swoboda, a doctoral candidate in nutrition at Ohio State University, told LiveScience website: “The chemical change is the same reason why when you brush your teeth and then drink orange juice, it tastes bad.
“We were also interested in seeing whether this helps with weight loss.”
Swoboda and her colleague Jennifer Temple of the University of Buffalo, enrolled 44 volunteers for their study and asked each candidate to play a game in exchange for food.
Some played for pieces of fruit, while others played for crisps and sweets.
Before participating in the experiment, half of the volunteers had chewed either fruit gum or mint gum.
During an experiment, the volunteers were asked to keep a food diary. For a 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 while chewing gum, people ate fewer meals but that they did not consume fewer calories as a result.
Swoboda said 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 food seem unappealing.