Do You Really Know What’s In Your Chewing Gum?

Susan Patterson

Chewing gum is often touted for its benefits of offering an instant fresh breath, acting as a hunger suppressant and a fun bubble-blowing candy for young and old alike. While many manufacturers promote gum’s benefits, do you really know what’s in that chewy stick you so quickly pop?

Whether you go for the sugar-loaded or sugar-free variety or you prefer mint to strawberry-flavored, all gum starts with the ambiguous ingredient “gum base.” Most manufacturers won’t come clean with what exactly “gum base” is comprised of, but one brand lists ingredients: glycerol ester of rosin, paraffin waxes, polyvinyl acetates, talc powder and calcium carbonate. Glycerol ester of rosin is used to create fast-drying varnish, talc is linked with various cancers, polyvinyl acetate is often referred to as “carpenter’s glue” and paraffin wax is derived from petroleum. And those are just the ingredients in the base.

Most people avoid sugary gums since they are proven to cause tooth decay. But sugar-free gums often contain dangerous artificial sweeteners such as the highly controversial aspartame, which has been linked to various diseases and cancers. Along with aspartame you will often find acesulfame K, another dangerous sweetener that has been poorly tested, though linked with various tumors. You may also find “sugar alcohols” listed as an ingredient in your sugar-free stick. Don’t be fooled though as these sugar relatives can increase blood sugar levels as much if not more than regular sugar and can have a laxative effect when consumed in excess. Gum isn’t looking so sweet now is it?

In order to maintain its fresh chewiness, gum is often treated with the preservative butylated hydroxytoluene or BHT. While it may keep that gum tasting minty fresh on supermarket shelves, BHT is linked with both kidney and liver damage. This is probably why it is banned in both the United Kingdom and Japan.

And if your gum is a bright shade of pink or blue, you’ll more than likely find dangerous food dyes in each stick. Many of these are banned in other countries as they are linked with various diseases and cancers, however candy-makers continue to use them here in America. Besides, how could we believe that our candy is watermelon-flavored if it weren’t pink?

As you can see, there really isn’t any benefit to chewing gum as it is loaded with dangerous chemicals, additives and dyes. To make matters worse, these toxic substances are absorbed directly through the walls of the mouth and are quickly absorbed through the blood stream as they don’t have to go through the digestive process.

If you have to chew gum, look for organic varieties that are comprised of a natural gum, chicle and doesn’t contain these highly toxic chemicals. Or better yet, just avoid the sticky stuff altogether.

Sources for this article include:

About the Author: Susan Patterson is a natural health writer with a passion for living well. Her writing includes regular contributions to some of the most visited health and wellness sites on the internet, e-books, and expert advice sites. As a Certified Health Coach, Master Gardener and Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor, Susan has helped many people move towards a better understanding of alternative health options. Susan practices what she writes and is an avid fitness enthusiast, whole foods advocate and pursuer of sustainable living. To read more articles by Susan, please visit
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