I have something to confess.
I’m a gum-aholic. I chew it all day long. Whenever I’m not sleeping, eating, or working out, I’m always chewing a piece of Trident Tropical Twist. I go through at least a pack a day now. I buy multiple cases at a time.
This has been going on for years, ever since I started trying to lose weight. A lot of people try chewing sugarless gum to keep them from overeating, and it totally helps some people, myself included.
I never thought of this as an issue until recently. Better to be constantly chewing 3-calorie sticks of gum than constantly snacking, right?
Then I became more aware of the problems of processed food and artificial ingredients, but I still made gum an exception to my worries. But recently I read a blog post about the dangers of chewing gum by the very well known Vani Hari, aka Food Babe. I have so much respect for this gal. She has led multiple successful campaigns to get food companies to not only be more transparent about their ingredients, but also to remove suspect ingredients from their products. I happen to think that she gets a little too zealous about the dangers of certain additives and GMO ingredients (see my posts on GMOs here and here), but she gets things done without having to change policy. It’s incredible! You should check out her work.
Anyway, she wrote this post about gum, and she cited the possible dangers of some of the artificial ingredients in brands like Trident, which, again, bothers me but not to the point of wanting to do anything about it. I don’t think the science has shown that there’s that much danger from the doses we’re exposed to generally of things like aspartame. Then again, I chew SO MUCH GUM. But what really freaked me out is this:
“Chewing gum messes with your bodies ability to produce digestive enzymes, a critical substance that helps you get all the nutrition from food you need into your bloodstream.
Every time you chew a piece of gum, you send signals to your brain that you are chewing actual food. Your digestive organs – the stomach and pancreas get ready to digest food by creating digestive enzymes your brain thinks you need. Now imagine doing this all time and every day by chewing gum that isn’t real food, you’re tricking your pancreas and stomach to produce digestive enzymes when they don’t really need to use them. Over time the digestive organs become overtaxed and stop producing the amount of enzymes they once did.”
If that is true, I’m in big trouble. I can’t imagine trying to wean myself off gum-chewing all the time. I’d be really worried that I’d eat more just to give my mouth something to do.
I feel like a hypocrite, because this is exactly the type of problem I want so many people to overcome: stop consuming this thing that’s probably bad for your health, and at the very least is definitely not good for your health. I did it with food, for the most part. But how ridiculous would it be if I eat tons of fruits and vegetables but can’t absorb any vitamins by the time I’m 40 because I couldn’t give up chewing gum? That is, if the Food Babe is right. But what she said does make a lot of sense to me.
I’m really nervous now to read her post on microwave popcorn, because I indulge in that snack frequently as well.
Remember Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? She pursued her obnoxious gum-chewing to a fault, specifically blowing up like a blueberry (or gum bubble). Maybe I better seriously consider chewing less, lest I end up like Miss Beauregarde.
What do you think? To chew or not to chew?