Do you chew gum on a daily basis? Have you ever questioned the impact that chewing gum can have on your health?
As with many things that we expose our bodies to on a daily basis, let’s take a moment and analyze the ingredients of chewing gum and ask some important questions that pertain to whether it contributes to good health. How many of us have looked at the ingredients on a pack of gum? If you have, do you know what each one of the substances is? Is a stick of chewing gum as much of a “cancer stick” as a cigarette? As you will see below, commercial gum products contain very toxic substances that you can expose your body to and can lead to some of the worst diseases on the planet.
The US is the 3rd most consumptive country of chewing gum in the world. It is estimated that 59% of all adults chew gum. While this may be a commonly accepted practice in our world today, this does not mean it is healthy. In this study, chewing gum was associated with no direct link between its use and consuming less quality food. Chewing any kind of mint gum leads to a decrease in the consumption of fruit, thereby reducing diet quality.
Chewing gum may trigger TMJ otherwise known as temporomandibular joint disorder. When you overuse a certain set of muscles, it can lead to contracted muscles and related pain including headaches, ear aches, and toothaches over time. This would be much like working out a certain muscle over and over again without a break. One study showed that when adolescents with chronic headaches stopped chewing gum a significant reduction in pain was noted, with many of the headaches disappearing completely. If you get headaches and chew gum frequently, this should be another reason to stop.
It is also well known that chewing gum causes people to swallow excess air, which contributes to abdominal pain, bloating, and gas. Chewing gum confuses the body as well because when food enters into the body it sends signals to your body to get ready to digest something. Enzymes and stomach acids are activated when you chew gum, but when there’s no food that’s delivered it taxes the digestive system.
Here is a list of the most common ingredients in the most popular chewing gum products on the market:
- Sorbitol, Xylitol, Mannitol, Maltitol
- Gum Base
- Natural and Artificial Flavors
- Hydrogenated Coconut Oil and Starch
- Aspartame –Acesulfame
- Soy Lecithin
- Colors (titanium oxide, blue 2 lake, red 40)
- Malic Acid, Citric Acid
Let’s talk about a few of these ingredients and see what we can discover about them and if they are healthy.
Ingredient #1: Gum Base. Imagine if someone came up to you and said, “Hey, would you like to chew on some tire rubber and plastic?” You probably would politely decline and want to report this person to a doctor for a psychological evaluation. “Gum base” is a blend of elastomers, plasticizers, fillers, and resin. Some of the other ingredients that go into this mix are polyvinyl acetate, which is frequently referred to 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? Not at all. As you chew, these substances leach into the mouth and body. Yummy.
Ingredient #2: Aspartame. The controversy surrounding this substance is widespread. It is one of the most body toxic substances we can consume. The political corruption and money trail behind this agent of disease is a mile long. Aspartame has been linked to all of the major brain diseases including Alzheimer’s and ALS. It is may be considered a prime contributor to many other diseases such as cancer, diabetes, autism, multiple sclerosis, asthma, obesity, and many others. It is in many diet products on the market today, but in the long run actually contributes to obesity due to his extreme acidity. Aspartame is an excitotoxin, which over excites neurons in the brain until they burn out and die. Dr. Russell Blaylock is the leading expert on Aspartame and other excitotoxins and I would highly encourage you to see the documentary entitled “Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World”.
Ingredient #3: Hydrogenated Coconut Oil and Starch. Hydrogenation (trans fats) is a chemical process that adds hydrogen across a double bonded carbon. This is done to increase the shelf life of a product, turning oil into a more plastic like substance. This process also creates trans fats, which are now known to be very harmful to health.
Ingredient #4: Colors (titanium dioxide, blue 2 lake, red 40). Titanium dioxide is a nanoparticle that is very common in sunscreen and many other health products, including synthetic nutritional supplements. New evidence is leading in the direction of this substance being carcinogenic, leading to cancer. We as humans are drawn to things that are colorful. Artificial food colorings, such as red 40, are made from petroleum and are dangerous to our health. Many people have extreme allergies to these substances and they have been implicated in contributing to ADD and other disorders and diseases.
Ingredient #5: Sorbitol, Xylitol, Mannitol, Maltitol. These sugar alcohols are originally made from sugar, but are altered so much that they are considered sugar free. As a general rule, when nature is altered and changed to make a “better” product, more often than not, the result is something that is not healthy. Some even go so far as to say that these products are far worse than sugar and can stimulate weight gain. Other side effects can include abdominal pain and diarrhea. Is sugar alcohol better than refined sugar? Neither are good substances, so comparing the two is somewhat pointless.
A great alternative to chewing gum is to carry around a small bottle of organic food grade peppermint oil and when you would like fresh breath, just put one drop in your mouth and you will have achieved the same effect. You can find many food grade oils that are wonderful for helping you have fresh breath. I highly recommend Periowash as an all natural mouthwash. If you are sensitive to oils, you may have to dilute a drop in water before consumption. If you do have bad breath (halitosis), this is a digestive issue in Chinese medicine and can be healed with diet, acupuncture and lifestyle changes.
Nothing in chewing gum is natural. It is chemical goop that in no way contributes to health or is good for your teeth. Don’t be fooled by fancy advertising. The five ingredients that we reviewed above, in one form or another, contribute to disease and poor health. Is this really a risk that you want to expose yourself to all for the sake of fresh breath?