Cards on the table straightaway – I think gum chewing looks gross. But is it an innocent habit or is chewing gum bad for health?
Watching somebody chew gum is not attractive, and open-mouthed chewing is hideous. Hearing somebody chew gum is horrible and trying to talk to somebody while they incessantly chomp away at a rubbery glob is thoroughly unpleasant and, I think, rude.
This is a personal view and one that is maybe outmoded in today’s society where public spitting seems to be tolerated. OK, so maybe I am from a different generation (although not old!) and one that still puts considerable value in consideration, a degree of decorum and ‘old fashioned’ manners.
But it seems like my opinion is backed up by some science fact too…
So is chewing gum bad for health?
Plenty of scientific evidence says it is, and for numerous reasons. Let’s take a look.
Now there’s a name that sounds like it shouldn’t be involved in diet or ingestion. Unfortunately, it has been used in the manufacture of chewing gum for many years.
Studies show that it is likely to pose serious issues to us, particularly in terms of gut health.
Used in nanoparticle form titanium dioxide is not restricted to chewing gum and can be found in the likes of: sweets, powdered sugars, chocolate and breads.
It is also found in paint and plastics which should probably be a warning in itself!
Although the US Food and Drug Administration has deemed it safe, further studies by scientists have led them to believe it poses genuine health risks.
A 2017 study published in NanoImpact Journal showed that titanium dioxide could seriously impact gut health. Under the most detailed laboratory conditions, titanium dioxide was shown to:
- Slow down metabolism
- Weaken gut defense against pathogens
- Cause inflammation
- Weaken the intestinal barrier
- Block absorption to vital nutrients such as zinc, iron and fatty acids
I don’t think it is unkind to say that Dunkin’ Donuts does not operate remotely close to the healthfood end of the market, but even it took the initiative in 2015 to ban the use of nano-titanium dioxide in it donut’s sugars.
And the issues don’t stop there…
It stands to reason that when we start chewing, our body goes into eating mode. The action of chewing send important messages to out gut to prepare for food. In turn, it does its job by producing the necessary enzymes and acids required to deal with the incoming nutritional products.
Except that when you chew gum, nothing turns up!
You now have a gut full of acids and enzymes waiting to do their job, but no job to do. The effect of this is bloating, an excess build up of stomach acid and gastrointestinal problems. On top of this, over time, you can find that your digestive processes are compromised when required to actually process food.
Unsurprisingly, gum chewing is a common cause of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. Or jaw ache!
This is no small matter. It can become a chronic condition that also creates toothache and serious headaches.
And speaking of headaches…
Gum chewing is directly linked to serious headaches in teenagers. A study of children aged between 6-19 who all chewed gum and all suffered migraine and tension headaches, was conducted over one month of abstention from gum.
Well over half saw their headaches disappear completely, and almost the entire remaining kids in the study saw a considerable easing in the frequency and intensity of their headaches.
On starting back on gum, 87% saw their original headache conditions quickly return.
Do you have mercury fillings?
If so you might really want to avoid gum. Chewing this stuff is know to release mercury vapors from your fillings into your bloodstream. Once in your bloodstream this causes oxidative processes in your tissues. This leads to damage to fatty acids, DNA and proteins, all of which batters the body’s ability to fight illness and serious disease.
I rest my case!
OK, so I started out by saying I just find it gross – not a scientific observation, just a personal view. But it turns out that I have plenty of science on my side.
Is chewing gum is bad for health? Yes, and there are multiple overwhelming reasons to stop.
Oh, and it looks gross!
Connect here with WatchFit Expert Joey Bull