Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Truth Blows:Chewing Gum And Your Health

I love chewing gum! I like blowing bubbles and have greatly enjoyed instances of rapid-fire crackling it against my teeth. I buy a pack of Extra gum each week at the grocery store, I keep it in my purse and usually have 2 pieces a day. I know I am not alone. Gum is EVERYWHERE: gas stations, grocery stores, airports, ect. Chewing gum is now even endorsed on the show 'The Biggest Loser' to help the contestants lose weight, promoting that by chewing gum will help you curb your cravings and satiate your sweet tooth. This delightfully delicious 'go to', that freshens your breath and somehow keeps your mind off of food, it seems so innocent, right?! Well, it made sense to me up until recently when I heard mention that chewing gum can actually be BAD FOR YOU?! Whaaa??! (That's what I thought to). I did a bit of research and found some INTERESTING findings that I thought I would share with you.

1. Many of us mindlessly cram sticks of gum into our mouths out of habit without ever stopping to question what IS gum? Gum is made from chewable synthetic polymers (rubber) and polythene mixed with latex, with 'flavors' added and then sweetened with sugar or aspartame. So basically to recap: a rubbery, synthetic, flavored and sweetened sugary wad of 'yum'= Gum!

2. The act of chewing gum, can cause unnecessary strain on the muscles and cartilage in your jaw which can result in long term jaw pain and headaches/migraines.

3. When you put any substance into your mouth your salivary glands are stimulated sending messages to your brain to stimulate your digestive system. By introducing gum, a stationary non digestible 'food like substance' into your body, you are stressing your expectant digestive system. Your body is in 'go mode' expecting FOOD to make its way down the digestive system, all organs firing waiting expectantly, for no reason.

4. Gum is not food. It's basically rubber-like chemical nastiness (however tasty). If you do swallow it, you are introducing something that is very hard for your stomach and digestive system to break down and process.

*Sorry I just couldn't resist!;)

5. People who are suffering from IBS(irritable bowel syndrome) or other digestive problems should not chew gum. In the process of chewing gum, you swallow excess air that can cause bloating and pain for someone with a compromised digestive system.

6. If you chew sugar-free gum you are consuming aspartame that has many health implications such as cancer. If you chose to eat gum that is made from processed refined sugar, you are setting yourself up for a higher risk or tooth decay and potential diabetes.

7. It is true that the act of chewing gum does produces excess saliva, that can help 'bathe' the teeth killing bacteria which IS beneficial to your health. However, the con's far outweigh the pro's in this list.

I had NO idea that the simple act of chewing gum was so highly involved and potentially so detrimental to my health. Now that I know, I may think twice about reaching for the next pack of Extra. This may be a hard habit for me to quit, but reading back over this list, I think it is in my best interest to find a new hobby.

Cheers to being an informed consumer!

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