If you’re the type who can’t see through the day without chewing a stick of gum or two, you may find it hard to chew on the alarming discovery by a recent study. The study reveals that chewing gums could make you gain weight. Like most others, you were of the idea that merrily chomping and munching gums were quite harmless.
But new research has established that chewing on gums flavoured with mint or menthol cannot prevent you from gaining weight. This is because most brands of chewing gums contain chemicals and artificially flavoured additives that reduces your appetite for wholesome foods, particularly vegetables and fruits. Various studies carried out on the food habits of people addicted to chewing gums came to the conclusion that such individuals were more likely to crave for sugary foods.
The studies also concluded that such people were less likely to consume low calorie healthy foods. Chomping on chewing gum sticks releases certain chemicals that discourage your desire for food. Have you ever taken a glass of lime water or orange juice after you’ve brushed your teeth? It must have tasted insipid or bland. It is because of the same chemical change or reaction brought about by the ingredients or preservatives used in the toothpaste.
But then again there are certain groups of individuals particularly nutritionists, medical practitioners, and other healthcare professionals who do not subscribe to the above findings. They do not believe that chewing gum can make you obese as they do not have the calorific level to make someone fat. Since so much has been said about the health effects of chewing gums, there seems to be no unanimity on whether these are actually causing people to gain weight. Therefore, it is important to clear the air regarding the misconceptions surrounding chewing gums and bust the myths regarding the generalization – How Chewing Gum is making you Fat.
1. The Softeners in the Chewing Gum
The chewing gum gets its characteristic moist and juicy flavour because of the softeners it contains. Had there been no softeners in chewing gums, you’d have found it very tough to chew the gum in the first place. The popular softeners happen to be glycerine and vegetable oil based softeners.
Softeners prevent the chewing gum from becoming too hard. Glycerine has a fatty base that can make you put on weight if you consume too many sticks or balls of chewing gum. So if you do not want to become overweight just for the sake of chewing gums, restrict yourself to taking just two to three sticks.
2. The Sweeteners
Sweeteners are the ingredients that lend the chewing gums their characteristic sweetness. Both natural and artificial sweeteners are added to make them sweet. The natural sweeteners are sugar, corn syrup, and beet juice. Artificial sweeteners are aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol, sucralose, saccharin and many others.
Aspartame is the worst of all sweeteners as it is known to cause several health problems like arthritis, nausea, fibromyalgia, depression, irritable bowel syndrome besides weight gain. Sugar is without doubt the healthiest and safest of all sweeteners both artificial and natural. Therefore the brand of chewing gum that you’re in the habit of munching can make a big difference to whether you gain weight or keep the same under control.
So the next time you proceed to buy a pack, just take a cursory and quick look at the label. Needless to say, avoid brands that contain a lot of additives or artificial sweeteners. Rather go for ones that have a lot of natural sugars in them. At the cost of repetition, do not chew a whole pack everyday but rather try to curb your consumption to two or three sticks a day.
3. The Different Flavourings Used in Chewing Gums
If you consume chewing gum on a regular basis, you must be having a penchant for a particular flavour. The most popular flavours are mint (peppermint), menthol (a flavour that closely resembles mint), and spearmint (a variant of the minty flavour). Different fruity flavours like banana and strawberries are also a great hit with many people. There are a whole range of synthetic flavours.
Artificially flavoured chewing gums contain mint or menthol that can interfere with your eating habits and more often than not adversely affects your eating behaviours or patterns. Menthol or mint is a chemical that can increase your yen for processed or junk foods that have a high calorific level. The more of spearmint or menthol flavoured gums you consume, the greater will be your yearning for salty and spicy potato chips, carbonated and fizzy drinks.
Mint flavoured chewing gum kills your appetite for healthy, nutritious and wholesome foods including fresh vegetables and fruits. The mint contains the chemical menthol which makes foods taste dour and tasteless. So steer clear of chewing gums flavoured with mint, spearmint or menthol if you want to stay slim and trim.
4. The Gum Base
You’d not have been able to chew on your chewing gum without the gum base. ‘Gum base’ is actually a collective term for an entire range of ingredients that is kept a trade secret. However, it has been established through research that the main categories of ingredients that make up the gum base are elastometers, waxes, fats, resins, fillers, emulsifiers and antioxidants.
Traditionally, gum bases were made from latex, spruce gum, and chicle. Nowadays manufacturers and producers of chewing gum use artificial rubbers in the gum base. However, if you’re hooked on to bubble gums, be in the know that they contain more of the softeners and gum base. Gum base of a chewing gum hardly plays any role in making people fat.
So there you have it-the ingredients that make up a chewing gum and the function each ingredient has in making people overweight or obese. Try to chew on a stick after you’ve taken your lunch or dinner. Such a practice will help you to keep your appetite under control and also help you to keep your cravings for junk food under check.