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Chewing gum in foil, studio shot, close-up

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“Last week I did a blog about fluoride and how harmful of a chemical it is. Someone sent me a message asking about chewing gum. I promise I’m not trying to take the fun out of everything that you do, but sometimes the truth hurts. Don’t shoot the messenger! The more research I did the more I realized how bad gum really is for us. Not just the ingredients, but what it does to the enamel on our teeth, what it does to our jaw. It doesn’t do any favors for the nature and the environment either. Trust me, I had no intention of COMPLETELY giving up gum until I realized how the bad outweighed the good!”

The first gums were made from the sap of trees, such as spruce or Manilkara chicle.

However, most modern chewing gums are made from synthetic rubbers. Gross.

Chewing gum is safe as long as you don’t swallow it. It is a great stress reliever, freshens breath and can curb your appetite. Studies even show that it can improve your memory. The new whitening gum can whiten your teeth.

Annnnnd the bad…Constant chewing could lead to a jaw problem called temporomandibular disorder (TMD), which causes pain when you chew. Chewing gum can trigger headaches and migraines.

All ingredients used in the processing of chewing gum have to be “food grade” and classified as fit for human consumption.

Chewing gum hasn’t been linked to any serious health effects, but ingredients added to some types of chewing gum are controversial.

Here is the breakdown:

Gum: This is a non-digestible sap which has a rubbery base used to give gum its chewy quality.

Resin: This is usually added to strengthen gum and hold it together.

Fillers: calcium carbonate or talc are used to give gum texture.

Preservatives: These are added to extend shelf life. The most popular choice is an organic compound called butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

Softeners: These are used to retain moisture and prevent the gum from hardening. They can include waxes like paraffin or vegetable oils.

Sweeteners: Cane sugar, beet sugar, and corn syrup are popular sweeteners. Sugar-free gums use sugar alcohols such as xylitol or artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. (not recommended for people with digestive issues such as IBS or Crohns)

Flavors: Natural or synthetic flavorings are added to give gum the desired taste.

Holly adds, “I stopped chewing gum about a year and a half ago for reasons to do with my intermittent fasting. I don’t miss it at all! Then, like I always do, I started researching why leading nephrologists performing human research with intermittent fasting were against chewing gum. Not surprisingly, it all started to make sense. The reason why you can’t chew gum during intermittent fasting is because the digestion process starts in our mouths. The second something enters our mouth and we start chewing, it starts an insulin response. That is what preps the body to start the digestion process and gets the motor running. The body gets very excited because food is coming! This isn’t bad per se, tricking the body, but if your main goal is autophagy, then chewing gum is a definite no-no.”

Take away: as with anything, moderation is best. Chewing gum for hours daily is definitely not good for you.