Not Losing Weight? You're Obviously Chewing the Wrong Gum

A new diet scam promises that you'll be able to drop pounds and chew gum at the same time

We've got a new entry in the Dumb Diet Ideas Hall of Fame: Hormone-filled gum that claims to suppress your appetite while you chew it.

Of course, it's common knowledge that you're "supposed" to chew regular old sugarless gum whenever you want some more delicious, actual food to help suppress cravings. Because a stick of Trident is just as satisfying as a cupcake. Obvs. That's why people line up outside all those gum bakeries in SoHo and have towers of bubble gum in lieu of cakes at their weddings. 

Actually, sugarless gum is the worst. And, stimulating my saliva glands by chewing it only convinces me more that I want to eat the cupcake. Nevertheless, bold obesity-fighting scientists are pressing onward. Syracuse University chemists figured out how to add a hormone called human PYY to B12 vitamins. Human PYY is responsible for regulating your appetite and energy levels -- it kicks in after you eat or exercise -- and past studies have shown that obese people have lower levels of it than thin folk. Give fatties more PYY, they'll feel fuller and eat less, or so the scientist logic goes. 

The problem is that up until now, human PYY could only be injected intravenously -- when subjects took it orally, most of the useful hormone was destroyed in their stomachs. But when researchers combined the hormone with "a patent-pending vitamin B12 system," it survived and crossed over to the bloodstream, where it can start doing its appetite-supressing thing. So now the researchers are working on getting that B12 system into a stick of gum, which dieters could chew to stop hunger pangs. 

The researchers compare their weight-loss gum to the nicotine gum, so if you subscribe to the notion that certain foods can be addictive, I get how a drug designed to help regulate the chemical imbalances caused by physical addiction would be useful. My concern is that a weight-loss gum -- like most diet aids -- puts too much emphasis on just that: Weight loss. This isn't a "make you crave more leafy green vegetables" gum or a "find a form of exercise you truly enjoy so you'll stick with it" gum. It doesn't help you develop a sustainable healthy lifestyle or address any of the emotional issues tied to overeating. It just maybe makes you a little less eager to stuff your face with nachos with the goal of making your body smaller, which may or may not result in a healthier, happier you. 

That being said, I guess I like it better than this Bust Up Gum, featured in Huffington Post's roundup of Funny Products For Women. This Japanese supplement-laced gum promises "larger, fuller, firmer breasts," "healthier menstruation," "relief of menopausal symptoms," stress relief, a younger look and "increased vaginal secretion."

If gum can do all that, I think we need to be afraid. Very afraid. Say what you will about cupcakes -- they taste delicious and leave boobs alone. 

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