Would you like a piece of gum?

I use to chew gum. As a child it was bubble gum! What child doesn’t like to blow bubbles and see how big they can blow it before it pops all over their face and in their hair? lol! As an adult I chewed it far less, mostly only when it was offered to me or if I thought about having fresh breath and wasn’t where I could brush my teeth. As an adult I also chose sugarless gum as that was better for me than gum full of sugar right? Then I began to learn about the dangers of artificial sweeteners like Aspartame, and about digestion and how it actually starts in the mouth. Chewing gum (or anything else) signals your stomach to begin releasing HCl (hydrochloric acid) and digestive enzymes for digestive purposes. When you don’t actually give your stomach anything to digest (you don’t swallow gum) you are wasting those enyzmes and acid and making your digestive system work for nothing. Over time and if you are also having digestive issues for other reasons (poor diet, artificial processed foods, long term stress, etc) chewing gum will not aid your situation. People chew gum to help lose weight too, if you’re chewing gum but not actually eating food your mouth is occupied but you’re not eating. Unfortunately chewing gum can destroy your health in the long run. 

The main ingredient in all these gums is artificial sweeteners and consuming them will not work as long term strategy for weight loss. Artificial Sweeteners are proven to stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and promote fat storage and weight gain.

Think about it – when someone consumes something that is sweet, but it has little to no calories – their brain receives a signal to want more calories because their body is not actually getting any energy (i.e. enough calories) to get satisfied. So that person keeps looking for gratification elsewhere and ends up craving more.

Furthermore, there are more dangerous side effects from artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, which is considered one the most dangerous substances allowed in our food supply. Over 10,000 complaints have been filed with the FDA on this substance since 1980 and has actually never been proven to be safe before it was approved for use in our food supply. Aspartame is linked to diabetes, auto-immune disorders, depression (which can cause you to eat more – once again), birth defects, and several forms of cancer.

What upsets me the most is that Trident is now advertising its gum is made with Xylitol – but it still has Aspartame in it! Trident’s marketing is the best…It will fool even the smartest of people. (Note: the aspartame in NOT in the Xylitol)

Another ingredient I should point out specifically that all of these gums have is BHT. It is used as an embalming fluid and in jet fuel. The US Department of Health and Human Services has labeled BHT as a carcinogen but the FDA still allows this in our food supply. In fact, BHT is a banned substance in several countries. What’s wrong with this picture?

And what’s up with the warning at the bottom of some of the ingredient lists for “Contains: Phenylalanine”? Does the average person even know what this means? Phenylalanine is added to the ingredient Aspartame and could seriously be dangerous if you have certain health conditions. Consuming this substance (if you have a condition that makes you sensitive to this additive) can cause mental retardation, brain seizures, sleep disorders and anxiety. All this from chewing a piece of gum. SCARY.

If I really want to chew gum, Glee Gum (no it’s not named after the TV show) is the one of the brands I recommend – It’s Non-GMO, has no artificial colors, artificial preservatives, GMO or carcinogenic sugars, or artificial flavors and it is made with Xylitol.

Xylitol is a safe sugar alcohol and commonly used in nasal sprays as a natural remedy for allergies and congestion. Glee’s label isn’t lying to you either. I love the fact that it tells you which actual “natural flavor” it has in it.

So is chewing a gum like Glee ok on a regular basis? Well no, not really.

As I mentioned above, 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.

This is certainly bad enough, but as you age, you lose 1/3 of your bodies ability to produce digestive enzymes too. This is why taking a digestive enzyme supplement in your older years may improve your overall health. (That’s another topic for another time…)

Regardless, some benefits to “chewing” gum were just released in a new study that saw improved test scores in students that chewed gum 5 minutes before a test. Increasing your physical activity even as minor as chewing gum could benefit cognitive function in the brain. Studies like these are pretty fascinating, I wonder if they are conducted just to get people to buy more gum, considering most studies are funded by an interested party in the industry. This doesn’t mean you have to resort to chewing gum to get this benefit, however…

What if you could chew something just as effective that was GOOD for you, freshened your breath and helped you digest food without the threat of reducing your natural digestive enzymes?

Enter…Fennel Seed.

It’s amazing what chewing on a little seed can do. Chewing on fennel seed as an after dinner digestive is no secret. It has been used for many years in Asia for medicinal purposes. Fennel seed is proven to prevent gas, heart burn, bloating and upset stomach, freshen your breath, improve eyesight, relieve hypertension, and help coughs and bronchitis.

Fennel seeds smell like licorice and taste a little bit like it too. Chew about  ½ a tsp and it’s just enough to get your mouth instantly fresh and clean. By the way, you don’t spit these seeds like you would gum. You swallow them because they are food.

Fennel seeds can be your savior when you might be eating more than you would like or foods that you aren’t used to. You can find Organic Fennel Seed in almost any grocery store like Whole Foods.

So, the next time someone asks you if you’d like a piece of gum, what are you going to say?

If you find this article interesting and think it could benefit someone in your life, please share it – especially with those who are always asking you that question.

 

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