Do you find yourself reaching for gum when you’re craving and don’t want to succumb? You might want to rethink that.
A lot of people are starting to understand the importance of looking at the ingredients in their food products. More people are looking at labels and reading ingredients and trying to avoid toxic ingredients in their food. However, many don’t stop to take note of non-food items, such as chewing gum, and how these things influence health. Just because chewing gum isn’t swallowed and digested, it doesn’t mean it’s free and clear to consume. Here we’ll take a look into why chewing gum is quite detrimental to the health of our bodies.
Let’s begin by looking at a few labels from some popular chewing gum brands:
Popular Gum Brand #1:
Sorbitol, Gum Base, Glycerol, Natural And Artificial Flavors; Less than 2% of Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Aspartame-Acesulfame, Aspartame, Mannitol, Acesulfame K, Soy Lecithin, Xylitol, BHT (To Maintain Freshness), Colors (Beta-Carotene, Blue 1 Lake).
Popular Gum Brand #2:
Gum Base, Maltitol, Maltitol Syrup, Sorbitol, Natural And Artificial Flavoring, Mannitol; Less than 2% of: Acesulfame Potassium, Aspartame, Blue 2 Lake, Gelatin, Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Red 40, Red 40 Lake, Soy Lecithin, Sucralose And Yellow 5.
Popular Gum Brand #3:
Sorbitol; Gum Base; Maltitol Syrup; Glycerin; Contains 2% or less of Natural And Artificial Flavor; Soy Lecithin; Artificial Color (Red 40 Lake), Maltodextrin; Acesulfame Potassium; BHT (To Maintain Freshness); Caramel Color.
Surprisingly, a lot of individuals do not stop to look at the ingredients in their gum. Because of this, it might be a shock to see so many incredibly toxic ingredients found in a single product you put in your mouth! Anyone even slightly aware of what they put in their bodies would recognize these ingredients as toxic and unnatural. In fact, they’d likely notice these ingredients on a food label and avoid eating it. Yet, when it comes to gum, many don’t tend to be as concerned.
Just because you don’t actually swallow gum, it doesn’t mean these ingredients aren’t still absorbed into the body when chewing.
Let’s review some of the main and common ingredients found in these popular gum brands and why they are important to avoid.
Sorbitol or Maltitol:
Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sugar substitute. Sugar alcohols such as sorbitol have been linked to such problems as weight gain/obesity issues due to an increase in appetite, difficulty digesting, and gastrointestinal problems such as bloating and diarrhea. Other studies demonstrate that sorbitol damages nerves, which can cause a number of problems, including eye and vision complications like cataracts or peripheral neuropathy.
Natural & Artificial Flavors:
Any time a food has to have artificial or “natural” flavors added, it’s already an indication of a highly processed, not particularly natural, food. These flavorings are man-made chemicals that have toxic effects in the body. These unnatural ingredients have been linked to allergies, depression, and cancer, to name a few.
Like the flavoring agents, artificial colors are unnatural, man-made chemicals highly toxic to the body. There are a number of different coloring additives commonly used today in food and in gum products, including Yellow 5 & 6, Red 40, and Blue 1 & 2. These coloring chemicals have been linked with a lot of problems, such as headaches, allergies, depression, cancer, and ADD/ADHD.
Aspartame, Sucralose, or Acesulfame Potassium:
Non-nutritive sweeteners such as these are incredibly harmful to the body. In fact, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners like this are considered to be some of the most dangerous substances allowed in our food supply, with over 10,000 complaints filed with the FDA to remove it. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners such as aspartame were approved for use in food before it was even tested for safety. These man-made, unnatural sugar replacements are linked strongly to diabetes, autoimmune problems, migraines, seizures, depression, weight gain, birth defects, and many different types of cancer.
BHT is added to foods like gum as a preservative. However, it is synthetic and highly toxic. It’s actually used as an embalming fluid and also as jet fuel. Even the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has labeled it as a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent), and it is banned in many countries.
(Partially) Hydrogenated Oils:
Companies take oils that generally aren’t healthy already, such as vegetable or soybean oil, and hydrogenate them to make them have a long shelf life. The process of hydrogenation makes the fat hard. This “trans” fat is highly toxic to the body, is difficult to digest, and once it’s stored as fat, it’s very hard to get rid of. Hydrogenated oils are very pro-inflammatory and can lead to a vast number of health issues.
Even the more “natural” gums without all of the scary ingredients aren’t free and clear to put in your mouth. While they are better options than the highly toxic, common brands, they still contain less-than-natural ingredients, are processed, aren’t good for your jaw, and can still lead to weight gain and disturbances in production of digestive enzymes.
The best answer? Find solutions to chewing gum, such as nibbling on fennel seeds or fresh herbs, or just give up the gum altogether to save money and improve your health!