Why Chewing Gum Destroys Your Health

Wanna piece of gum?

This is a question I get asked a lot and 99 out of 100 times I say NO!

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Check out the candy aisle I visited in Singapore recently. No gum here…

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Candy aisle at Target, pretty much all gum.

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The reason I say no, is because most people offer me gum with ingredients like this:

Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum – Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavors, Artificial GMO Sugars, Carcinogenic Sugars, Toxic Preservatives (Note – This gum has sugar + corn syrup + Aspartame)

INGREDIENTS: SUGAR , GUM BASE , DEXTROSE , CORN SYRUP , NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS , LESS THAN 2% OF: GLYCEROL , ASPARTAME , GUM ARABIC , SOY LECITHIN , ACESULFAME K , COLOR , (TITANIUM DIOXIDE , BLUE 1 LAKE , BETA-CAROTENE) , BHT

Trident Gum Ingredients – Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavorings, GMOs, Carcinogenic Sugars, Toxic Preservatives (Note: This gum has Xylitol + 3 other sugars including Aspartame)

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Bubble Yum Gum Ingredients - Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavorings, GMO Sugars, Toxic Preservatives

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Orbit Gum Ingredients - Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavorings, Carcinogenic Sugars, Toxic Preservatives

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Wrigley’s 5 Gum - Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavorings, Carcinogenic Sugars, Toxic Preservatives

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I used to be addicted to gum. I would totally freak out if I didn’t have some in my purse or pantry after eating. But that’s before I figured out the ingredients in chewing gum were slowly sabotaging my health.

One of the reasons people chew gum is for weight loss. Chewing gum keeps your mouth occupied so you don’t reach for food, right? The main ingredient in all these gums is artificial sweeteners and consuming them will not work as long term strategy for weight loss. Artificial Sweeteners are proven to stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and promote fat storage and weight gain.

Think about it – when someone consumes something that is sweet, but it has little to no calories – their brain receives a signal to want more calories because their body is not actually getting any energy (i.e. enough calories) to get satisfied.  So that person keeps looking for gratification elsewhere and ends up craving more.

Furthermore, there are more dangerous side effects from artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, which is considered one the most dangerous substances allowed in our food supply. Over 10,000 complaints have been filed with the FDA on this substance since 1980 and has actually never been proven to be safe before it was approved for use in our food supply. Aspartame is linked to diabetes, auto-immune disorders, depression (which can cause you to eat more – once again), birth defects, and several forms of cancer.

What upsets me the most is that Trident is now advertising its gum is made with Xylitol – but it still has Aspartame in it!  Trident’s marketing is the best…It will fool even the smartest of people.

Another ingredient I should point out specifically that all of these gums have is BHT. It is used as an embalming fluid and in jet fuel. The US Department of Health and Human Services has labeled BHT as a carcinogen but the FDA still allows this in our food supply. In fact, BHT is a banned substance in several countries.  What’s wrong with this picture?

And what’s up with the warning at the bottom of some of the ingredient lists for “Contains: Phenylalanine”? Does the average person even know what this means? Phenylalanine is added to the ingredient Aspartame and could seriously be dangerous if you have certain health conditions. Consuming this substance (if you have a condition that makes you sensitive to this additive) can cause mental retardation, brain seizures, sleep disorders and anxiety. All this from chewing a piece of gum. SCARY.

If I really want to chew gum, Spry is the one of the only brands I recommend – It’s Non-GMO, has no artificial colors, artificial preservatives, GMO or carcinogenic sugars, or artificial flavors and it is made with Xylitol.

Xylitol is a safe sugar alcohol and commonly used in nasal sprays as a natural remedy for allergies and congestion. Spry’s label isn’t lying to you to you either. I love the fact that it tells you which actual “natural flavor” it has in it – peppermint oil.

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So is chewing a gum like Spry ok on a regular basis? Well no, not really.

Chewing gum messes with your bodies ability to produce digestive enzymes, a critical substance that helps you get all the nutrition from food you need into your bloodstream.

Every time you chew a piece of gum, you send signals to your brain that you are chewing actual food. Your digestive organs – the stomach and pancreas get ready to digest food by creating digestive enzymes your brain thinks you need. Now imagine doing this all time and every day by chewing gum that isn’t real food, you’re tricking your pancreas and stomach to produce digestive enzymes when they don’t really need to use them. Over time the digestive organs become overtaxed and stop producing the amount of enzymes they once did.

This is certainly bad enough, but as you age, you lose 1/3 of your bodies ability to produce digestive enzymes too. This is why taking a digestive enzyme supplement in your older years may improve your overall health. (That’s another topic for another time…)

Regardless, some benefits to “chewing” gum were just released in a new study that saw improved test scores in students that chewed gum 5 minutes before a test. Increasing your physical activity even as minor as chewing gum could benefit cognitive function in the brain. Studies like these are pretty fascinating, I wonder if they are conducted just to get people to buy more gum, considering most studies are funded by an interested party in the industry. This doesn’t mean you have to resort to chewing gum to get this benefit, however…

What if you could chew something just as effective that was GOOD for you, freshened your breath and helped you digest food without the threat of reducing your natural digestive enzymes?

Enter…Fennel Seed.

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It’s amazing what chewing on a little seed can do. I purchased this bottle of fennel seed from the new spice shop that just opened in town called Savory. I’ve kept a bottle like this in my purse at all times for years.

Chewing on fennel seed as an after dinner digestive is no secret. It has been used for many years in Asia for medicinal purposes. Fennel seed is proven to prevent gas, heart burn, bloating and upset stomach, freshen your breath, improve eyesight, relieve hypertension, and help coughs and bronchitis.

I always chew some after a big meal and especially after my fair share of dessert. Fennel seeds smell like licorice and taste a little bit like it too. I chew about a ½ tsp and it’s just enough to get my mouth instantly fresh and clean. By the way, you don’t spit these seeds like you would gum. You swallow them because they are food.

Fennel seeds can be your savior when you might be eating more than you would like or foods that you aren’t used to. You can find Organic Fennel Seed here.

So, the next time someone asks you if you’d like a piece of gum, what are you going to say?

If you find this article interesting and think it could benefit someone in your life, please share it – especially with those who are always asking you that question.

Happy Chewing!

Food Babe

 

P.S. I tried forever to blow a bubble with my Spry Gum…my bubbles were pitiful. I guess that’s one of the downsides of chewing less toxic substances. I’ll take that any day over the alternative

:)

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Really bummed about the lack of big bubble making…

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245 Responses to “Why Chewing Gum Destroys Your Health”

  1. Renge'

    Thank you, Vani, for the gum info. I’m a big fan of Spry peppermint gum, but did not know about the digestive enzymes being released. I have heard of their production waning with age, and am currently in a weakened digestive system state and add them to each meal in pill form. Unfortunately, regarding your alternate suggestion, I hate fennel, and licorice flavor. Instead, I find a little swig of chlorophyll, preferably a mint-flavored one from the healthful store, to be amazing at freshening the breath. Also, munching on a plain stick of celery (yuck) really does the trick too! Thanks for all your efforts to educate the public, Food Babe!!!

    Reply
  2. Michelle Cannon

    My kids stopped chewing gum YEARS ago, when they started sneaking aspartame into it. There is literally only one gum I can find that doesn’t have it. Of course, gum isn’t the only thing they sneak it into these days. As long as they keep sugar in the product, they can sneak the aspartame in without labeling it “sugar-free”, which used to be a heads-up for those of us watching out for this evil chemical.

    Reply
  3. Linda (to Gerald)

    Artificial gmo sugar could come from genetically modified beets or corn syrup. It is artificial because it may contain DNA from species unrelated to the plant, such as DNA from fungus, bacteria, or a virus found to have been resistant to certain pesticide(s).

    Reply

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