Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Chewing Gum

Are you a gum chewer? Here are a few chewing gum facts you might not have known.

chewing gum

Where do the calories in gum come from – and where do they go?
Chewing gum can be an effective way to train yourself to eat fewer empty calories if you tend to snack on junk food between meals. Not to mention it can make your breath smell better if you have just gotten back from lunch and can’t brush your teeth before heading to a big meeting. It’s also low in calories and can even be good for your teeth.

Each stick of your standard chewing gum contains 15 calories or fewer, which is a very, very tiny percentage of the daily calories you generally consume throughout the day. When you chew gum, you swallow its ingredients mixed with your saliva, like flavoring and artificial sweeteners in sugar-free chewing gum, even though you don’t swallow the gum itself. It’s 15 calories or less, though: you probably burn that off in a day just by walking from place to place.

What kinds of chemicals are in chewing gum – and are they harmful?
Different brands of different gum and different types of gum use different ingredients and ingredient ratios, but the recipe is generally the same. Chewing gum is made from synthetic rubber as a base. To keep it soft during chewing, manufacturers usually add vegetable oil-based ingredients. Sweeteners are added, usually corn syrup and sugar, and then flavorings such as mint are added.

In sugar-free gum, like other products that are labeled sugar-free, artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are used to enhance sweetness. You have probably heard that overuse of artificial sweeteners is bad for you, and you are correct. However, unless you chew A LOT of gum daily, you shouldn’t see negative health effects from these sweeteners. A stick of gum is generally about three grams. That doesn’t leave much room for excessive amounts of harmful chemicals. Chew your gum worry-free.

And finally, the question you’ve been itching to ask since you clicked on this article …

Does gum really stay in your system for seven years if you swallow it?
You were just minding your own business, chewing gum and talking to a friend, when you accidentally swallowed it. What happens now? Is it going to hurt you? How long until your body will digest it?

At some point in your life, you were probably told that if you swallowed chewing gum instead of spitting it out, it would take seven years for your body to digest. Swallowing large amounts of gum on a regular basis can lead to potential digestive issues, primarily in children. So swallowing your gum, even as an adult, probably isn’t the best habit to adopt.

That being said, your body doesn’t actually digest chewing gum. It can’t. That doesn’t mean it just sits in your stomach or gets stuck in your intestines. Like other indigestible substances, it passes through your system and finds its way out – during a normal digestive cycle, meaning within a day or so, if not sooner. Definitely not seven years. You won’t even notice.

Chewing gum isn’t so bad. All things considered, it isn’t the worst habit you could possibly have. Enjoy it!

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