Chewing gum can help reduce hunger, fight those between-meal food cravings and make you feel full — all of which can help you eat less and lose weight, according to a new study presented at the 2007 Annual Scientific Meeting of The Obesity Society.

People who chewed gum in the afternoon snacked less, lowering their daily food intake by 25 calories. This may not seem like much, but researchers say that even small changes in daily caloric intake will have an impact in the long term and that chewing gum can be an easy, convenient weight management tool.

The study offered sixty participants, aged 18 to 54, a snack after they had chewed artificially sweetened gum. Hunger, appetite and cravings were rated immediately after lunch, and then hourly.

The results: chewing gum lowered caloric intake by an average of 25 calories per day. Participants said that they felt less hungry after chewing gum at one, two and three hour intervals after lunch. They also reported that chewing gum improved their mood by reducing anxiety and providing relaxation.