3 Reasons to Never Chew Gum

Who’s with me here?

As a child, there was nothing I loved more than buying a pack of watermelon Hubba Bubba Bubble gum! There was something so magical about unwrapping that glorious pink cube, popping it into my mouth, blowing 3 bubbles (then spitting it out because the flavor disappeared), then repeating til the package was gone. Perhaps the ingredients back then (yes, I did say back then) were more ‘wholesome’ (probably too strong of a word), but they were still a very far cry from being good more me. If you’re an avid gum chewer, you may be surprised to learn that…

Chewing gum is NOT your friend

Reason #1 – Ingredients 

You’d be hard pressed to find a mainstream gum that doesn’t include aspartame. Not that sugar is any better as most of it is GMO anyway, Aspartame injures nervous tissue on a cellular level. According to Dr. Russell L. Blaylock (MD- Neurosurgeon), Nutrasweet (Aspartame) has been scientifically linked to brain tumors, brain cell damage and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Although gum is not eaten, aspartame is absorbed into your body via your gums and tongue.

Check out the ingredients of Trident Spearmint Gum: Why I don't chew gum Many of these uh…’food safe’ ingredients are self explanatory but a few need a closer look:

Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol made chemically from corn syrup. It is marketed as a tooth whitener as well as a sugar free option for diabetics. In reality  it has been documented to cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. It can also aggravate existing health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.  Interestingly enough, the US Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers of foods containing sorbitol to include a laxative effect warning on their labels although I didn’t see one one this pack of Trident.

Gum Base is a vague label for many things. It is the mystery ingredient in gum, with chewing gum manufacturers being sketchy about its constitution. I was able to go straight to this Chinese manufacturer and supplier of ‘Gum Base’ and got this list of ingredients: several food grade raw materials, which are food grade (SBR rubber,ester gum, paraffin wax , polyvinyl acetates ( PVAC ) , talc powder and calcium carbonate powder). EWWW! Even ‘natural’ gum from the health food store (like this one) contain Gum Base.

Mannitol is another sugar alcohol derived in a lab. Not only is it a sweetener but it is also the powdery dust found on chewing gum. It is also used clinically as a diuretic. It has been linked to loose stools, gas and bloating.

Phenylalanine.  While we’re at it, what the heck does ‘contains phenylalanine’ mean AND why is it in red? Well… firstly, ‘Phenylketonurics’ isthe term used to refer to people that have the metabolic disorder Phenylketonuria, or PKU. People with the PKU disorder must avoid or limit food products containing phenylalanine. Phenylalanine is a component of Aspartame; as if that’s not bad enough, symptoms of high Phenylalanine levels include memory loss, frequent headaches, mood swings, violent rages, sleep disorders etc…  

 

Reason #2 –  Saliva

The moment you start chewing that stick of gum, your 6 salivary glands are stimulated. Your brain anticipates digestion and releases saliva to help break down the pending ‘food’. Gastric, pancreatic and biliary fluids are created to further break ‘it’ down. Because no real substance ever existed, many people experience stomach upset because of an overly acidic environment. An over acidic stomach can also lead to stomach ulcers.   

 

Reason #3 – Wear and Tear 

Chewing gum actually aggravates your Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). In fact, a study out of Tel Aviv University-affiliated Meir Medical Center discovered a significant association between chewing gum and increased incidence of headaches.  Subsequent problems with the TMJ can lead to TMJ disorders where someone can experience a locking jaw, pain, difficulty chewing, neck aches, hearing problems, dizziness etc… 

 

Sorry to burst your bubble folks (yes, I really did just say that!), chewing gum is not your friend. Our ancestors used to chew something called chicle which was tapped from a tree, an obvious far cry from the sketchy ‘gum base’ that is used today. If you desperately want to chew gum, this brand is made from actual chicle…just ignore the carnauba wax (sorry, I couldn’t help it). 🙂 

Libby

 

 

 

 

Photo credit

 

References:

Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills

Live Strong

The Healthy Wyze Report

Health Canada

Dr. Ben Kim