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The chewing-gum… Did you ever imagine what it’s made of?

Have you ever thought of that gum which we carry all the time in our bags and inside our drawers, of what it is made from and of the benefits it brings us? Have you ever tried to imagine what that gum contains and which we tend to chew each time we feel like eating something, whether to calm the munchies or to mute our craving for sugary things, a habit that’s often repeated several times a day?

Let’s start, first, by saying that the raw material used in the manufacture of this universal confectionery has changed over time. Indeed, our famous chewing gum was introduced in the US in 1869, when it was brought in the luggage of a Mexican army officer driven away from his country home by the revolutionaries. Thereafter, an American named Thomas Adams was the first to successfully market the chewing gum. Let’s also note that the Adams name is still linked to the chewing gum until the present time.

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But what are the ingredients in this chewing gum? Well, the gum base of that product is a matter that’s insoluble in water and saliva. It originally consisted of the “chicle” obtained from a Mexican plant. Nowadays, however, the chewing gum is made essentially of a mixture of resin, wax and various additives (colorings and flavors), all impregnated with glucose and powdered sugar.

Nutritionally speaking, an ordinary chewing gum provides about 5 to 7 Kcal from its content of sucrose. Also, there are a series of chewing gum that’s sweetened with polyols whose caloric value is less than the ordinary product. The chewing gum sweetened with polyols is characterized by its anticariogenic power and that is why it is recommended after a meal taken out of home (but this of course does not replace a good tooth brushing). In addition, there is another series of chewing gum sweetened with aspartame, acesulfame K, saccharin, etc. and that series is also much less caloric. Finally, and in general, we should remember that the chewing gum promotes bloating and flatulence due to swallowing air during the chewing process. This is especially true in the case of sweetened chewing gum; moreover, the latter products can also cause diarrhea when consumed excessively.

About Denise Abou Jamra

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