Q. Every day I chew two packs of bubble gum containing sugar. (I don't like sugarless gum.) Can chewing this much gum cause weight gain?

A. Yes. One piece of Bubble Yum has 25 calories, as much as one Hershey's Kiss or two gumdrops. If you chew 10 pieces a day -- two packs -- you're consuming 250 empty calories. Big Red, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit contain 10 calories per stick.

Although Sugarless Bubble Yum contains 20 calories a piece, most sugar-free gums contain just 5 calories a stick. "Give sugar-free gums another try," says Gail Frank, Dr.PH., R.D., a nutrition professor at California State University, Long Beach, and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "There are several different sweeteners, and you might find one you like." If you switch from a brand that contains 25 calories per piece to a 5-calorie brand, you'll save 200 calories a day, enough to lose 1 pound in 18 days.

Gum can be a low-calorie way of satisfying a sweet craving, but it can be tough to determine how many calories are in the gum you chew. While most sugarless gums have a nutrition label on each individual pack, most gums with sugar don't. That's because on small items like gum, the government requires labels only on the box, not on each pack. At some stores, the gum might not be displayed in the box it came in.

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