Chewing gum and cognitive performance: A case of a functional food with function but no food?

Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, Division of Psychology, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK.
Appetite (Impact Factor: 2.69). 11/2004; 43(2):215-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2004.07.004
Source: PubMed


Recent reports suggest that enhancement of memory performance while chewing gum is a fairly robust phenomenon. The processes underlying the effect are not known, but may involve glucose delivery, context-dependent effects and arousal mechanisms amongst others. This brief commentary outlines the main findings from these studies and raises some issues regarding interpretation, methodology and future research directions.

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Available from: Andrew Scholey
    • "" Foods that may be eaten regularly as part of a normal diet, that have been designed specifically to provide a physiological or medical benefit by regulating body functions to protect against or retard the progression of diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer, hypertension, diabetes and osteoporosis " CSIRO Human Nutrition (2004) # # 28 " Foods that, in addition to supply known nutrients, can provide other health benefits as well " Egg Nutrition Center (2004) # # 29 " A food or a part of a food which provides medical or health benefits " Scholey (2004) # 30 " A functional food is a conventional food or a food similar in appearance to a conventional food, it is part of a regular diet, that has healthrelated benefits and (or) reduces the risk of specific chronic diseases above its basic nutritional functions " Health Canada (2006) # # 31 " Any food or food ingredient that might provide a health benefit beyond the traditional nutrients it contains " Raki c, Povrenovi c, Te sevi c, Simi c, and Maleti c (2006) # # 32 " Any substances that is a food or part of a food that provides medical and/or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease " DeFelice (2007) # 33 " A food that contains added, technologically developed ingredients with a specific health benefit " Niva (2007) # # 34 " A functional food is, or appears similar to, a conventional food. It is part of a standard diet and is consumed on a regular basis, in normal quantities. "
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    ABSTRACT: The food industry is one of the most important branches of the national economy in Italy and in the European Union in general, playing a central role for the processing of agricultural raw materials and food supply. This industry is traditionally regarded as a sector with low research intensity; notwithstanding, innovations are recognized as an important instrument for companies belonging to the food industry in order to stand out from competitors and to satisfy consumer expectations. In this regard, functional foods play an outstanding role, as demonstrated by their increasing demand derived from the increasing cost of healthcare, the steady increase of life expectancy, and the desire of older people for improved quality of their later years. The main target of this paper is to analyze the state of the art on functional foods. For this purpose, a review of extant literature is presented. Specific emphasis is laid on the definition and the main examples of functional food. The paper concludes with comments on future trends.
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    • "It was reported that chewing gum is directly linked to the maintenance of the hippocampal function and it leads to an increase in the prefrontal cortex activity (Ono, Yamamoto, Kubo, & Onozuka, 2010). Several psychological studies using human subjects have shown that chewing, or even sucking a piece of sugar-free, spearmint flavored chewing gum, improves the cognitive activity – especially in working-memory tasks (Baker, Bezance, Zellaby, & Aggleton, 2004; Scholey, 2004; Stephens & Tunney, 2004a, 2004b; Wilkinson, Scholey, & Wesnes, 2002). Position Emission Tomography (PET) studies revealed that mastication increases blood-flow in various cortical and cerebellar regions; suggesting that chewing increases the availability of blood-borne glucose, thereby improving cognitive performance (Momose et al., 1997; Sünram-Lea, Foster, Durlach, & Perez, 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies indicated that chewing gum may relieve stress and depression. There have, however, not been a significant number of studies on clinical usage of chewing gum. In the present study, 30 patients with mild to moderate depression were given either medication combined with chewing gum, or medication only, for 6weeks. Turkish adaptation of Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) was used to measure depression levels. Assessments were conducted by the same physician both before, and after treatment. The physician who was responsible for the assessment was not aware of the group allocation. Changes in main HAM-D scores and each item were analyzed by independent samples t test and Chi-Square test, respectively. Those patients who were administrated chewing gum responded better to the treatment than patients who took medication only. The most beneficial effect of chewing gum was observed on the gastrointestinal symptoms, e.g. loss of appetite, and flatulence among others. These results indicate that chewing gum may not be directly effective on depressed mood; however, it may reduce the symptoms originating from depression.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Appetite
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    • "The apparent facilitation of memory by chewing gum has been attributed to increased glucose to the brain, although only for immediate recall, while delayed recall does not appear to be supported by increased glucose (Stephens & Tunney, 2004). Some support has also been found for the idea that chewing gum increases attention but not memory itself (Tucha, Mecklinger, Maier, Hammerl, & Lange, 2004; see Scholey, 2004, for review). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the effect of chewing gum on memory when flavor is held constant. Four separate groups of participants (total n=101) completed a word recall task. At learning and recall, participants either chewed a piece of gum or sucked a sweet. Each participant completed the memory task twice, once with abstract words and once with concrete words. A significant effect of word type (concrete vs. abstract) was found, however recall performance was not improved by matched oral activity at learning and recall. The results cast further doubt on the ability of chewing gum to induce context-dependent memory effects.
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