The debate on whether chewing gum is harmful or not has been going on for years.
Some scientists say that chewing gum helps people develop healthier habits. Others say that, since modern gum is made from synthetic materials, it shouldn’t be consumed too often.
This article is looking at both sides and drawing a conclusion based on the research available.
Enough talk. Let’s dive into this.
What is chewing gum made of?
Various gum brands have various recipes, but here are the basic ingredients that all gum manufacturers use:
- The actual gum. This is the rubber base of the gum itself. It is non-digestible.
- Fillers. This can be anything from talc to calcium carbonate to offer gum its, well, gummy texture.
- Preservatives. They are there to ensure that gum doesn’t expire too soon. BHT is one of the most widely used preservatives.
- Resin. This holds the gum altogether to not break apart when you’re chewing it.
- Sweeteners. This keeps the gum sweet. Most widely used ones are corn syrup and beet sugar.
- Flavorings. These add a flavor to the gum. These flavors can be natural or synthetic.
Are these ingredients toxic or safe to use?
Chewing gum is thought to be safe in general; but there are some brands that might contain not-so-safe ingredients. Some of the ingredients that might pose higher risks:
- Aspartame, an artificial sweetener that can cause obesity, cancer, and headaches.
- BHT or Butylated Hydroxytoluene, an antioxidant that acts as a preservative. It can become rancid and thus, toxic. BHT has been quite controversial even in research because there are not enough human studies showing its effects. Such low doses as those in the gum cannot be damaging to your health, but this was worth mentioning.
- Titanium dioxide can be damaging in higher doses too. It acts as an additive. There is not enough research on this substance either.
The bottom line is that the amounts of these ingredients used in gum will not harm you in any way; so yes, chewing gum is considered safe.
How can chewing gum help you?
Interestingly enough, chewing gum can boost memory and act as a stress reducer. Research has shown that chewing gum can help your brain function at a higher capacity and faster rate, especially when it comes to decision making, alertness, and comprehension.
On the other hand, other studies shared by assignment writers Australia found that chewing gum can act as a distraction from the task at hand. However, the same studies show that, if chewed for longer, gum can actually maintain focus and keep concentration levels up.
There is not enough research on how chewing gum can help boost your memory in the long term. In the short term though, chewing gum has shown effective for this neuronal process.
Chewing gum can act as a stress reducer since it links to lower levels of cortisol in the system; however, regular gum users do not report feeling less stressed after consuming gum.
Can chewing gum help you lose weight?
Maybe. It is indeed a helpful tool in trying to lose weight, but studies aren’t showing big differences in appetite after consuming gum. It is, however, linked to fewer desires to snack or snack healthier, so that’s good news.
The bottom line is that, consumed in high quantities, gum can be damaging for your health. However, if consumed regularly each day but not obsessively, chewing gum is not detrimental to your health in any way. There are no side effects of chewing gum, but you should be careful how often you feel like chewing it.