Need to keep mentally alert for the next few minutes? Spit out that piece of chewing gum.
That's the conclusion of a British study which found that chewing gum can impair short-term memory, reported trade publication NutraIngredients.com.
The latest study, published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, challenges previous studies which found that chewing gum can actually boost short-term memory.
For their experiment, researchers from Cardiff University in the UK asked 40 students to memorize a sequence of random letters -- for example, P,V, B, C, D, G, T - while chewing gum ‘vigorously.'
A secondary group was asked to do the same but was instructed to chew ‘naturally.'
In the third test, participants were asked to find the missing item in a sequence like numbers, while chewing gum.
The results of their study found that chewing gum in all situations impaired the participants' short-term memory.
Same went for another experiment that replaced gum with finger-tapping.
However, the researchers issued a caveat with their conclusion, saying that flavored gum could possibly cancel out the negative impact on memory loss.
Other studies have shown that chewing gum can help reduce caloric intake throughout the day by reducing snack cravings, and has even been shown to help speed up recovery in patients following gastrointestinal surgeries.