Many people chew gum on a daily basis, some consuming more than one stick per day. Let’s take a moment and analyse the ingredients of chewing gum and examine what we are exposing our bodies to on a daily basis.
Have you ever read the ingredients label of a pack of gum?
If so, do you know what each of the substances are, and how they act in the body?
Common ingredients found in chewing gum include: sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, gum base, glycerol, natural and artificial flavours, hydrogenated coconut oil and starch, aspartame, soy lecithin, colours (titanium dioxide, blue 2 lake, red 40), BHT, malic acid and citric acid.
Let’s take a closer look at these ingredients:
Ingredient #1 Gum Base
Imagine if someone came up to you and said, ‘Would you like to chew on some tire rubber and plastic?’ You would probably say no and want to report this person to a doctor or psychologist. “Gum base” is a blend of elastomers, plasticizers, fillers, and resin. Some of the other ingredients that go into this mix are polyvinyl acetate, also known as ‘carpenter glue’ or ‘white glue’. Paraffin wax is another ingredient that is a byproduct of refined petroleum. Is chewing plastic, petroleum and rubber safe? As you chew, these substances leach into the mouth and body.
Ingredient #2 Aspartame
There is wide spread controversy around this substance. It is one of the most toxic substances that we can consume. The political corruption and money trail behind this is miles long. It is known that aspartame has been linked to all of the major brain disorders including Alzheimer’s and ALS. It has also been considered a contributing factor towards diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, asthma, obesity and many others. It is found in many diet products as a ‘zero calorie sweetener’ but in the long run has been found to contribute to obesity due to its high acidity. Aspartame is also an excytotoxin, meaning it over excites neurons in the brain until they burn out and die.
Ingredient #3 Hydrogenated Coconut Oil and Starch
Hydrogenation is a chemical process that adds hydrogen atoms to an unsaturated oil in order to make it ‘saturated’. This is done to increase the shelf life of a product, turning it into more of a ‘plastic like’ substance. This process also creates Trans fats, which are known to have very harmful effects on the body.
Ingredient #4 Colours (Titanium dioxide, Blue 2 lake, red 40)
Titanium dioxide is a nanoparticle that is very common in sunscreen and many other products including nutritional supplements. New evidence suggests that this substance is carcinogenic, meaning leading to cancer. We as humans are drawn to things by their colour and artificial food colourings such as red 40 are made from petroleum and are dangerous to our health. Many people also have extreme allergies to these products and they have been linked to ADD and other disorders and diseases.
Ingredient #5 Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol
These sugar alcohols are all originally made from sugar, but have been altered so much that they are considered ‘sugar free’. When nature is altered and changed to such an extreme, more often than not the results are somewhat unhealthy. It has been suggested that these products are far worse than sugar itself and they can stimulate weight gain and other side effects such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. Is alcohol sugar better than sugar? It seems that neither are good substances and can have harmful effects on the body.
Chewing Gum and Digestion
Whenever you chew gum your brain is tricked into thinking that you are eating food. The brain signals to your stomach, pancreas and other vital organs involved in digestion to prepare for this ‘food’. Your salivary glands and pancreas then begin to release enzymes, which are necessary for the digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. Constant release of these enzymes overtime will deplete not only the number of enzymes, but can also slow their process over time. This can then lead to poor absorption and inability for the body to break down foods and their nutrients, and as a result may lead to disease due to an inability for the body to rebuild and thrive.
Alternatives to Chewing Gum
A great alternative is to carry around a small bottle of food grade peppermint oil for when you would like fresh breath. Just put one drop in your mouth and you will achieve the same fresh breath effect that gum has. It always good to look at your diet also, what is causing the bad breath? Often bad breath is a sign that the body is highly acidic.
Unfortunately, nothing in chewing gum is natural and it is a chemical goop that in no way contributes to good health. The five ingredients listed above in one way or another contribute to disease and poor health. Is chewing gum a risk that you want to expose yourself to on a daily basis for the sake of fresh breath? Perhaps chewing gum may be identified as a contributor to disease much like cigarettes in the future.