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I'm currently on a paleo diet which means I'm supposed to cut out sugar, however, I still chew sugarfree gum after lunch usually (Maybe 2 or 3 pieces a day). My question is this: how detrimental is this to my diet? The nutrition facts say that each stick only has 5 calories, but does chewing gum right after a meal have some other adverse effect on the way my body processes the food?

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Off topic according to the FAQ since the scope change of the site excluded questions not related to exercise. –  Baarn Sep 13 '12 at 16:06
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

After a quick readup of what the paleo plan is, the biggest thing I can see is that it is not plan compliant. There's a couple things to remember about "sugar free" gum and similar products:

  • Sugar free gum simply doesn't contain cane sugar. However, it still contains sugar alcohols which still have both calories and a glycemic impact.
  • Some sugar free gum uses an artificial sweetener, which many argue is not good for you.
  • When you eliminate large good groups from your diet, and then suddenly reintroduce them, your body responds by storing it as fat. For a stick of gum a day, that's not a big deal, but something to consider.

An unbalanced diet is an effective means to lose weight, but it is not sustainable for the long term. A balanced diet will ensure you get all your protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories your body needs to sustain its level of activity.

While losing weight on my own unbalanced diet, gum--even sugarless--was a major no-no. The reason being that it caused the pancreas to secrete insulin while I was trying to stay in ketosis. While I wasn't going to suddenly stop losing weight, it could potentially slow it down.


on a personal note: If chewing a couple sticks of sugar free gum keeps you from burying your face in apple pie or some other high calorie/low value food, then go for it. I tend to get more hungry when I chew gum, but it's not the same for everyone. Gum is a low value food, but since it is usually also low calorie it's not too bad.

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yeah, the calorie content wasn't really what I was worried about. What I was really looking for were the effects that it had on insulin production and what not, which I'm still a little confused about seeing as paleo isn't quite low enough carbs to be centered around ketosis (or at least I think). Also I'm not even really sure what an increased level in production of insulin from chewing a piece of gum would cause. –  Phil Quinn May 5 '11 at 19:36
    
I guess the answer to this question is rooted in a bigger question so it's hard for me to understand it on this scale, but I didn't want to get too general. –  Phil Quinn May 5 '11 at 19:37
    
The glycemic impact of gum is relatively small considering the low number of carbs. However, it is a simple carb so it spikes your system quicker than the slow burning carbs that you would have in the paleo diet. –  Berin Loritsch May 5 '11 at 19:46
    
You've been a huge help, thanks! –  Phil Quinn May 6 '11 at 13:23
    
@PhilQuinn your right. Telling someone to eat higher protein is probably good advice, but confusing with ketosis is not. Ketosis is a state your body drops into when you are eating practically zero carbs, low protein, high fat. If you are eating 1000 calories with LOW (not zero) carbs, your body is no better off weight-loss wise than 1000 calories with normal carbs. Protein does keep you feeling full longer (apparently), and your body works harder to convert it to energy, so there are a few tricks that make it worthwhile eating more of it than the other macros. –  Mike S Sep 20 '12 at 4:56
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virtually every sugarfree gum contains aspartame which has been shown to cause an insulin response, trigger cravings, and stall weight loss. not to mention it's been proven lethal to rats and goats! http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/business/yourmoney/12sweet.html

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Unless you have any reference, this is really a poor answer –  Ivo Flipse May 11 '11 at 17:16
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