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Is chewing gum bad? Before we get into that, it’s important to note that gum is a mainstay in American culture. In fact, the United States played a huge role in spreading the popularity of chewing gum around the world. During World War II, U.S. soldiers used gum in trades and handed it out as gifts to people living in Europe, Africa and all over the world. And, or course, anyone who chops lots of onions knows chewing gum while doing so can help fight back tears. (1)
But is chewing gum bad?
Is Chewing Gum Bad?
The dozens of varieties on store shelves today contain an array of new ingredients, bringing bolder colors, longer-lasting flavor … and a whole host of new health risks.
1. Gut Destruction
We can credit Hippocrates with coining medical breakthrough concepts like food is medicine and all diseases begin in the gut. But even he probably couldn’t see this coming. Chewing gum manufacturers have been turning to an ingredient called titanium dioxide for years. Now used in nanoparticle form, this extremely tiny metal compound isposing some serious emerging health threats. This is probably the scariest reason to avoid gum.
Generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration, this compound is often used in nanoparticle form to create a bright white pigmentation in paints, plastics … and chewing gum. (2) It’s also found in tons of other foods, like candies and powdered white sugar (donuts!) and even bread. Although it’s allowed on store shelves and considered safe, scientists are starting to paint a different picture.
In fact, a 2017 study published in the journalNanoImpact shows that nano-titanium oxide ingredients like titanium dioxide can severely impact gut health. Researchers exposed small intestinal cells to a meal’s worth of nanoparticles over four hours (acute exposure) or three meal’s worth over five days (chronic exposure). What they found is a bit shocking.
Chronic exposure to titanium dioxide nanoparticles in the diet:
- Weakened the intestinal barrier
- Slowed down metabolism
- Triggered inflammation
- Weakened the gut’s defense against pathogens
- Blocked nutrient absorption of key nutrients like iron, zinc and fatty acids
The nanoparticles actually blunted the effectiveness of the small intestines’ microvilli. Microvilli are tiny projections that jut off of small intestinal cells and work to absorb nutrients our bodies need to survive.(3)
People also face this type of titanium dioxide exposure through toothpaste, and it’s even sometimes used to created a smoother texture in chocolates and to create a brighter appearance in skim milk.
In 2012, Arizona State University found that titanium dioxide nanoparticles turned up in five percent of products tested, including Twinkies and mayonnaise samples. Under public pressure, Dunkin Donuts stopped using nano-titanium dioxide in its donuts’ powdered sugar in 2015.
“To avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles you should avoid processed foods, and especially candy. That is where you see a lot of nanoparticles,” — Gretchen Mahler, PhD, study co-author and assistant professor of biomedical engineering atBinghamton University, State University of New York. (4)
Beyond that, many chewing gum products contain emulsifiers to retain flavor and keep gum from sticking to your teeth. (5) The trouble is, many emulsifiers act almost like detergent in your digestive tract, throwing off the natural balance of your gut flora. In fact, research in lab animals suggests certain emulsifiers used as food additives could contribute to colon cancer development.
For children and adolescents dealing with vicious migraines and tension headaches, the natural solution could be right under their noses: Stop chewing gum. A small study published inPediatric Neurology discovered that nixing gum led to significant improvements in 26 out of 30 adolescents in the study. Amazingly, 19 of them experienced complete headache resolution. No pills, no treatments— they just stopped chewing gum. (6)
If you’re trying to figure outhow to get rid of a migraine naturally, your gum habit is a great place to start. In tweens and teens, common proven headache triggers includestress, lack of sleep, hot weather, video games, noise, sunlight, smoking, skipping meals and menstruation. Now we can add gum to the list. Researchers aren’t sure if it’s theartificial sweeteners or aTMJ issue related to gum and headaches, but the good news is we can stop many headaches with this simple step.(7)
3. Sinister Sweeteners
You’d expect fake sweeteners like aspartame in diet soda, but chewing gum? Come on! Different chewing gum companies turn to ingredients like aspartame, sorbitol, high-fructose corn syrup, acesulfame K, sucralose and xylitol. Some actually use multiple fake sweeteners in a single gum product.
These ingredients are linked to serious health issues like tooth decay, liver fat buildup, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, leukemia, lymphoma, kidney tumors and more. Acesulfame potassium, also known as acesulfame K, is among the most common artificial sweeteners detected in breast milk. That’s troubling, since the ingredient is also linked to thyroid dysfunction. Sucralose harms the gut, throwing off healthy levels of enzymes and disrupting themicrobiome.(8)
While xylitol and sorbitol may seem more natural, these processed sugar alcohols aren’t absorbed well by the body and cause an allergic reaction for those whohave a sensitivity to it. And then there are the digestive sugar alcohol andxylitol side effects, including bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea. And get this: Its laxative effect is so pronounced that it’s actually part of the chemical makeup for many over-the-counter laxatives.
Special note to dog owners: Xylitol and other sugar alcohol-based sweeteners are life-threatening toxins to dogs. Be mindful of breath mints, candies, sugar-free gum, frozen desserts and other foods when your pets are around.(9)
Bad breath is a good excuse to reach for gum, but as you can see, the side effects are bad news, especially for your gut. Luckily, there are better ways to cope. After ruling out potential underlying issues for bad breath, you can turn to these things to naturally improve your breath:
- Eat parsley.
- Drink enough water, especially tap into the benefits of lemon water.
- Learn how to safely tap intopeppermint oil benefits. (Not recommended for young children.)
- Learn about oil pulling with coconut oil.
- Avoid grains and added sugars.
Related: What Is Acesulfame Potassium and Is It Safe?
- American played a huge role in spreading the popularity of chewing gum all around the world.
- However, today’s ingredients include fake dyes and flavors. But perhaps most concerning is nanoparticle-sized titanium dioxide, an ingredient used in everything from gum, candy and bread to paint and plastics.
- Nano-titanium dioxide helps create a vibrant white color, but scientists now show that it can impact small intestinal cells in a way that blocks absorption of key nutrients, slows the metabolism, increases inflammation and weakens the gut’s ability to protect against dangerous pathogens.
- Chewing gum is also linked to migraines and tension headaches in children and adolescents.
- There are still some chewing gum companies that rely on old-fashioned, real-food ingredients, but they are sometimes harder to come by.
As opposed to what earlier studies have claimed, a study conducted at Ohio State University found that chewing gum does not boost metabolism or lessen food cravings. On the contrary, the gum-chewers reported feeling hungrier than non-chewers in the study.Why is chewing gum bad for gut health? ›
Chewing gum frequently can cause stomach problems and even trigger IBS. Chewing gum can cause you to swallow air pockets, which can cause abdominal pain and bloat, according to ABC News. This bloating and discomfort can cause particular pain to those who suffer from IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome.What ingredient in gum is bad for you? ›
BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
In the US, it's often used as a preservative in chewing gum and other processed foods. BHT has been linked to organ system toxicity, including kidney and liver damage, hyperactivity in children and may be carcinogenic.
Kills your good gut bacteria
Chewing gum has a huge impact on your gut bacteria with several studies concluding a reduction in gut bacteria with ongoing exposure to artificial sweeteners often found in gum.
Constant gum chewing puts excessive force on your temporomandibular joints, muscles and teeth, which leads to overstress, imbalance and misalignment. This can cause: Clicking or popping in one or both temporomandibular joints. Headaches.Does chewing gum make it hard to lose weight? ›
Here's the lowdown: Chewing a stick or two of gum won't magically help you shed pounds. Chewing certainly doesn't burn many calories, and it won't undo the calories you just packed away from, say, a large meal or a Thanksgiving feast.Can chewing gum cause IBS? ›
"Chewing gum can contribute to IBS, as excess air can be swallowed, which contributes to abdominal pain and bloating," says Patrick Takahashi, MD, chief of gastroenterology at St.Does chewing gum trick your digestive system? ›
Chewing gum has been proven to stimulate bowel movements by increasing the production of gastric juices without having to digest any food. According to a PubMed study, this can also help prevent the problems many people have when they start eating or drinking too soon after surgery.Is phenylalanine in chewing gum bad for you? ›
Even for a person without phenylketonuria, ingesting tiny amounts of phenylalanine can be a mental health risk; phenylalanine can concentrate in the brain and excessive levels of it in the brain disrupts serotonin levels, leading to emotional disorders.What is the healthiest gum to chew? ›
If you're going to chew gum, make sure it's gum that is sugar-free. Choose a gum containing xylitol, as it reduces the bacteria that cause cavities and plaque. Brands that are the best are Pür, XyloBurst, Xylitol, Peppersmith, Glee Gum, and Orbit.
A piece of gum typically contains fewer than ten calories per piece, which won't add much to your daily calorie count. Aside from having minty-fresh breath, chewing gum can be a practical tool for controlling food cravings until you find a healthy snack.What does chewing gum do to your face? ›
According to Wu, gum smacking can lead to bulking up of the muscles around your jaw, contributing to a "jowl-y look" and "can contribute to wrinkles on the upper lip." I asked New Orleans dermatologist Mary Lupo for her opinion: "The lines around your mouth are more likely to result from straw sipping, whistling, and ...What happens if you chew gum forever? ›
Any time over that could result in jaw muscle exhaustion. Continued excessive gum chewing may even create problems with your jawbone health, known as . Set a timer on your phone if you must, but avoid chewing gum for long periods of time as the harmful effects may outweigh the benefits.What happens if you only chew gum and drink water for a week? ›
No, relying just on chewing gum and water for hydration is not good since it can lead to dehydration, which can lead to a variety of health problems.Can chewing gum reduce double chin? ›
Not exactly. While chewing gum can help keep the muscles of your jaw strong and may give your chin a little lift, chewing gum cannot reduce fat deposits found in your double chin.How does chewing gum make your face slimmer? ›
Chewing gum does not reduce face fat.
It is a popularised myth that chewing gum reduces face fat. The simple fact is that you cannot reduce fat from one spot. Chewing gum can give your facial muscles a good workout but isn't effective in reducing face fat.
Again, when you chew gum you're swallowing excess air which can cause bloating. Gum may help your breath, or even keep you from eating when you're not hungry — but it can also be a hidden reason for your bloating.Does chewing gum affect bowel movements? ›
Gum chewing can stimulates bowel movement and promotes the return of bowel function through the cephalic-vagal reflex and increased intestinal enzymes secretion.What gum is best for IBS? ›
- Bazooka Original Bubble Gum.
- Bubblicious Grape Gum – Grape, Watermelon, and Strawberry.
- Classic Glee Gum – Peppermint, Tangerine, Cinnamon, Spearmint, Bubblegum, and Mixed Berry.
- Dubble Bubble Original Bubble Gum.
- Dubble Bubble Cry Baby Assorted Flavor Extra Sour Bubble Gum.
- Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape Gum.
It is concluded that although chewing gum causes a stimulation of the gastric acid secretion, this increase is so small that it does not justify an advice against the use of chewing gum in patients with duodenal ulcer or x-ray negative dyspepsia.
Serum levels of phenylalanine were recently associated with increased inflammation, higher SOFA scores, ICU admission, and mortality rates among non-COVID-19 patients.What are the long term side effects of phenylalanine? ›
Phenylalanine can cause intellectual disabilities, brain damage, seizures and other problems in people with PKU . Phenylalanine occurs naturally in many protein-rich foods, such as milk, eggs and meat. Phenylalanine is also sold as a dietary supplement.What are the dangers side effects of phenylalanine? ›
- Anxiety and hypomania (a milder form of mania)
Chewing gum on a regular basis as a habit can also lead to excessive wear on the tooth enamel, and even lead to changes in your bite alignment. Specifically, the upper molars may spread apart gradually, while the lower molars begin to gradually drift backward leading to an overbite.What is the least harmful gum? ›
If you're concerned about additives, choose a chew that uses all-natural ingredients, like Project 7 Naturally Sweetened Everest Peppermint Gum or Xylichew Peppermint Gum. And you can protect your teeth by selecting sugar-free gum options like Extra Polar Ice Gum, Dentyne Ice Arctic Chill Gum, or Pur Wintergreen Gum.Does Trident gum have xylitol? ›
Based on our most recent tests, Trident® gum has 0.17 grams of xylitol in each piece*. That means you would need to chew more than 35 pieces of Trident each day to reduce decay causing bacteria. Trident relies on sorbitol for the bulk of its sweetener.Does chewing gum increase metabolism? ›
Chewing a tasteless odorless gum elevates metabolic rate by 10 to 15% above basal levels. Energy expenditure increases with gum stiffness and is paid for by greater muscle recruitment. For modern humans, it is likely that mastication represents a small part of the daily energy budget.Why am I gaining weight going to the gum? ›
Muscle weighs more than fat, so it follows that you will gain weight on the scale. However, according to Sportsdoctor.com, muscle has a faster metabolism than fat, nearly 10 to 20 times faster. This means muscle uses more energy than fat does.Does sorbitol cause weight gain? ›
The authors conclude that sorbitol consumption may not only cause chronic diarrhea and functional bowel complaints, but also significant unplanned weight loss of about 20% of body weight.Does chewing gum break a fast weight loss? ›
Gum contains calories
For stricter forms of fasting like water fasts, consuming any calories technically breaks your fast. This is especially true if you're chewing multiple sticks of gum per day or choosing a type of gum that's high in sugar.
Typically, the chewing process reportedly enhances the energy expenditure associated with the metabolism of food and increases intestinal motility -- all summing up to an increased heat generation in the body after food intake, known as diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT).How many calories does chewing gum burn? ›
Chew gum. You can burn up to 11 calories per hour while chewing (sugarless) gum. The act of chewing also helps prevent unnecessary snacking, so that's a bonus. You can also try eating this breakfast that helps you burn calories all day long.Does chewing gum break ketosis? ›
Chewing gum will not kick you out of ketosis, but you need to make sure that you choose a sugar-free gum that is also low in net carbs. One stick of sugar-free gum has around one to two grams of carbohydrates and shouldn't cause you any problems. However, chewing too much gum can potentially kick you out of ketosis.Does lemon water break a fast? ›
The truth about lemon water and intermittent fasting
Long story short - the answer to the question “Does lemon water break a fast?” is no, lemon water does not break a fast. Lemon water contains almost no calories and zero sugars, it doesn't raise insulin levels, which means it will not break your fast (1).
One of the most common places you'll find xylitol is sugar-free gum, which has very little xylitol per piece. It may be hard to ingest enough xylitol to make a significant impact on insulin levels, so minimal consumption is likely fine for a fast with metabolic health as the goal.Does chewing more help gut health? ›
As you chew your food more digestive enzymes are produced. These help to breakdown food further to assist digestion. The process of chewing also triggers the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, this further aids digestion, by regulating the pH to increase acidity levels assisting with food breakdown.Why does chewing slower make you lose weight? ›
A 2017 study out of Kyushu University in Japan found that people who take time to chew slowly have better digestion and feel fuller, faster. Researchers also found that, on average, slower eaters had a smaller waist circumference and lower body mass index.Does amount of chewing affect digestion? ›
When you don't chew your food enough, the rest of your digestive system becomes confused. Your body may not produce enough of the enzymes needed to fully break down your food. This could lead to digestive problems, including: bloating.Does chewing gum help with anxiety? ›
Chewing gum is thought to increase focus via a reduction in stress and anxiety. Chewing gum contributes to success by improving short-term memory.Does chewing gum make you bloated? ›
Again, when you chew gum you're swallowing excess air which can cause bloating. Gum may help your breath, or even keep you from eating when you're not hungry — but it can also be a hidden reason for your bloating.
In one recent study, chewing gum reduced hunger and cravings after a 10-hour fast as effectively as drinking a calorie-rich beverage ( 3 ). In another study, a proportion of participants were asked to chew sugarless gum for 30 minutes following a meal.