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Why a Stick of Chewing Gum is More Harmful To Your Health Than Anything You Eat

Written by Print 

People do not typically ingest gum, so they pay very little attention to its ingredients. The assumption is that if the gum is not swallowed, then the ingredients should not be a concern. However, the ingredients in gum travel into the blood stream faster and in higher concentrations than food ingredients, because they absorb directly through the walls of the mouth, and these ingredients do not undergo the normal filtration process of digestion.

Gum is typically the most toxic product in supermarkets that is intended for internal use, and it is likely to kill any pet that eats it. Commercial gum products contain roughly the same list of toxic ingredients, with differing labeling, which is virtually always designed to mislead.

Common Ingredients of Gum

After looking at several different brands of chewing gum, we found that these were the most common ingredients:

• Sorbitol
• Gum base
• Maltitol
• Mannitol
• Xylitol
• Artificial and natural flavoring
• Acacia
• Acesulfame potassium

• Aspartame
• Calcium casein peptone-calcium Phosphate
• Candelilla wax
• Sodium stearate
Titanium dioxide

Titanium dioxide is so cancerous that external skin contact is enough to cause cancer. Be reminded that all of these ingredients absorb directly into the blood stream through the walls of the mouth. Some of these ingredients are explained in-depth, because it is prudent to correct the myth that chewing gum is harmless and even good for you (e.g. "it strengthens the teeth").

The "Sugar-Free" Sugar Alcohols

Sorbitol, maltitol, xylotol, and mannitol are sugar alcohols. These are usually made from sugar, and they frequently increase the blood sugar just as much as eating sugar does, whenever they are consumed. However, manufacturers make deceptive "sugar-free" claims about sugar alcohols, since these ingredients are not purely sugar anymore. While such sugar derivatives are technically "sugar free" when the manipulative word games are employed, they nonetheless remain dangerous for diabetics, who are the very audience that these gums are marketed to. The sugar-alcohol containing gums are also marketed to improve our dental health. The sugar alcohols are even more chemically processed than white sugar is; and thus much more foreign to a body by virtue of its artificial nature, so we have reason to believe that these forms of chemical-industry sugars may stimulate even more weight gain and inflammation than regular sugar. All of the evidence points in this direction. These chemically-extracted sugar alcohols are documented to cause abdominal pains and diarrhea, whilst aggravating various health conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome from the consumption of them. Therefore, the immune system takes a huge hit from exposure to them. The immune suppression that is caused by the heavy consumption of these alcohols will in turn cause greater yeast development in the body, which may ironically lead to cavities and allergies.

Gum Base

Instead of telling customers what they are really chewing, the phrase "gum base" is used to generalize a list of ingredients that is never actually published. As the name implies, it is the foundation agent of chewing gum. We have tried exhaustively to find exactly what modern "gum base" is made from. We found the following babble repeatedly regurgitated by all of the major gum companies. It was obviously meant to derail serious research:

"Gum base is produced through a blend of raw materials which can be categorized in five classes:

  1. Elastomers, act as the key ingredient and provide elasticy
  2. Resins act as binders and softeners
  3. Plasticizers render the elastomer soft to ensure thorough blending of the gum base
  4. Fillers contribute to the overall texture
  5. Anti-oxidants prevent oxidation of the gum base and flavors during shelf life"

Since this was repeated identically at all websites that we looked at, we can only assume that all of these companies are actually owned by the same people, or at least they are working together as a cartel to cover-up an honest disclosure of what is in gum. We eventually confirmed that the ingredients of gum base are commercial trade secrets. None of the websites told us the full ingredients. For instance, exactly what plasticizer is used? Are people chewing on super-toxic PVC? The plasticizing agents could contain dioxins, and quite frankly, they probably do.

After much more research, we found one Chinese company who told us about their ingredients. Wuxi Yueda Gum Base Manufacture Co, Ltd said:

"It is made of several food grade raw materials, which are rubber (food grade), glycerol ester of rosin, paraffin waxes, polyvinyl acetates, talc powder and calcium carbonate."

Glycerol ester of rosin is often made from the stumps of pine trees. It is used industrially to create fast-drying varnishes. The Internet is riddled with stories of people who had severe allergic reactions to it, usually causing a swollen throat that led to difficulty breathing. Glycerol ester of rosin is now being added to soft drinks, though federal limits ensure that its quantity remains under 100 P.P.M. This safety limitation does not apply to chewing gum.

Talc has been linked to lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and fibrotic pneumoconiosis with just transdermal exposure. It is very rarely put into products that are to be consumed. The only other consumable products that we have seen containing talc are diet aids (most are extremely toxic). Talcum powder was once used on small children, but it has now been replaced with cornstarch, due to safety concerns. It is too dangerous to touch the skin, but absorbing it straight into the blood stream is apparently acceptable.

Polyvinyl acetate is not quite PVC. It is PVA. PVA is frequently referred to as "Carpenter's glue" or simply "white glue". Remember that this is not being used as an industrial product, but as something that children are frequently given to chew on (gum base is in bubble gum too). This ingredient compliments the paraffin wax, which is derived from refined petroleum.

Aspartame is one of the most controversial additives of all time, and sits alongside MSG and saccharin in terms of both consumer distrust and poor safety. Its presence in foods has nothing to do with safety, but everything to do with politics and money. Aspartame has been linked to just about every health condition known, from seizures to brain tumors. Some epileptic patients have recovered from their condition simply by eliminating this toxin from their diets. It is found in diet foods, diet drinks, and sugar-free products as an alternative to sugar. Aspartame is a solution that remains worse than the problem. Aspartame is an excitotoxin, which means that it over-excites the neurons in the brain, until they burn out, causing lowered intelligence and a host of neurological problems. Aspartame causes diabetes, fibromyalgia, lowered I.Q., obesity, multiple sclerosis, asthma, insomnia, muscle spasms, and a total of 92 known symptoms.

Acesulfame potassium (acesulfame K) has similar properties to aspartame, and it is believed to be a carcinogen. The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the F.D.A. for a stay of approval, due to the lack of testing done on this substance. Studies on animals have shown a correlation between acesulfame potassium and various tumors.

While we would love to be able to provide information about calcium casein peptone (calcium phosphate), we cannot. We simply do not know. Its only appearance is in Trident gum (the worst brand), and we were unable to find studies or any other information about it. It might be a whitening agent. It is important to note that casein is a milk extract that was linked with the Chinese baby formula poisonings. Trust this ingredient at your own risk, but we would never encourage the use of something that has its research censored from the public. That tends to be a bad sign.

BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) is a preservative that has been linked to cancer. It was banned in the United Kingdom and Japan. It is unbelievably sold as a "dietary supplement", and some people believe that it has anti-viral effects. So do gasoline and rat poison. We do not recommend it, because of the safety implications. It causes kidney and liver damage. Benjamin Feingold (creator of the Feingold Diet) linked it to hyperactivity in children in the 1970's, as a large component of A.D.H.D.

For the sake of brevity, we shall discontinue examining the ingredients in chewing gum. Chewing gum is easily one of the most toxic products available, and it is difficult to ever know exactly what it contains due to vague terms such as "gum base" and "artificial flavors". These reflect trade secrets, and the ingredients probably are made of hundreds of other ingredients that they are unwilling to disclose. Manufacturers maintain that customers have no right to know.

Natural gum is available, which is made from chicle, a tree that is native to Central America. There was a time when all chewing gum was made from it, but using it incurs more manufacturing expense. Natural gum can be purchased online or from health food stores.


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Comments (44)
  • Ellen Wedding  - gums

    What about Spry gum or mints???? or the toothpastes that have xylitol in them???
    I bought some while back cause I had heard some HEALTH radio talk show had mentioned xylitol being good ,esp. for dental health. but I have only chewed or breath mints just a few>>>>>
    I am not a fan of gum, rarely mints, either.
    But as a child I am sure I consumed lots of that cheap penny candy, those round red and white peppermints (esp during church) and bubble gummed lots of bubbles till they popped on my face. LOL
    Thanks, great article as usual.

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)

    Hey Ellen,

    As far as we know, xylitol is not really a problem, but we haven't done much research on it yet. Be sure to keep xylitol away from your pets, though, since it is known to be very dangerous to animals.

    Spry gum also contains 'gum base', as defined in the above article. We don't usually comment on individual brands, but it didn't take long to find their ingredients list. Natural gums are available, but not in regular retailers.

  • andrew

    you may now die because of that childhood indiscression.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent article :dry: :unsure:

  • C. Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor)

    Thank you for the support. We would like to do more with this site than just educate people about the potential pitfalls awaiting them. We would be fairly happy if this were all that we accomplished, but we would like something more. That something more involves community building. You read our site, and we are happy that you do; but you could be a greater part of it. How about joining in more often, and leaving us your real name? Don't be afraid, because I think we're all good and well-intentioned people here. Community building is a slow and meandering process, but every community needs people who will jump in and lead the way for others. Maybe you're one of those people.

  • Anonymous  - hiiiiiiiiiii

    does chewing a lot of mint chewing gums causes an erectile failure or any sex related probes?????? :?:

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)

    I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that, but it wouldn't be the mint that is causing the problem. Aspartame is known for this effect, and I'm sure that carpenters glue wouldn't help the problem at all.

  • Katrina

    The ingredients list for Glee Gum Spearmint Flavor is as follows: "Cane sugar, gum base(contains natural chicle), rice syrup, natural spearmint flavor, gum arabic, resinous glaze, beeswax, carnauba wax, chlorophyll." Is this stuff bad to chew?

  • Lee Sauer  - Re Glee Gum

    I found this link that you might find helpful. I know that I have never chewed much gum, because they all make my tummy feel uncomfortable, and generally give me a headache. Gee, I wonder why? :dry: finding_safe_gum_is_a_sticky_s.html

  • Mona

    People polish their cars with carnauba wax. I think I read in this article that the rezinous glaze is also bad for you.

  • Laura O'Donnell

    What about double bubble? I've used the Trident whitening before, but not too much because I get a stomach ache sometimes.


  • J  - Latex

    I saw a 'How it's made' video for gum and was astonished to find out that the base material for chewing gum is rubber latex. I have a latex allergy, but after some research found that this fact is not mentioned anywhere I could find. I'm just glad I found out sooner than later.

  • Jay  - natural gum

    Thank for the information, it is wonderful and extremely helpful. I would like to know some of the natural gum companies and websitse to visit, since you are the expert. Please make some recommendations. Thank you.

  • Nancy  - B Fresh gum made with Zylitol is sold at Organic s

    I get B Fresh gum which is sold at an Organic store by my house. It's made with 100% Xylitol. I get the bubble gum and it's good.

  • Arthur  - Gums-problems

    I have a question, now a days it is common to see in bold Contains: phenalalanine (I think that's how it is spelled). What exactly is this ingredient? I've wanted to know about it for years. I no longer chew gum.

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)

    It is a component of aspartame. I believe that manufacturers are now required to put this warning on products that contain it, because some people can have an immediate life-threatening response to it. It's actually life-threatening to all of us, but it normally takes a long time to kill us through cancer, diabetes, etc.

  • Linda

    One of the gums I've chewed for years (and have loved it!) was pictured above. :( It was very hard throwing it in the trash can. You can't believe how much of it I've chewed thru the years. This "getting healthy" is certainly not easy at times. I have that gum in my truck, in my purse and at my home. Sad to say, even after reading this article, I know I'll have to be strong to throw it all away...but I will.

  • Henny Penny  - Gum is Bad

    Even "healthy" gum is not good for us. When chewing gum we send digestive enzymes into the tummy but no food.... that's not ideal.

    The other problem with sugar free (or lo-cal) is that it lies to your body, since it's so sweet but not offering calories. The body lowers the metabolism in response in order to better catch calories, so this leads to fattening, as that burger you just ate with your Coke Zero is now like eating four burgers.

    I almost got banned from my local grocer for griping that he only carried poisonous gum (all with aspartame, none with sugar) but you have opened my eyes to the dangers of all gums, sugary or not.

    ASPARTAME IS BAD. The sky is falling!

  • quang  - quang

    wow now i know my dad always eat gum so his mouth can not smell like beer well my name is not guang i ‘m Jeny :( :dry:

  • Holly Skinner  - What gum can I chew??

    I want to have a healthy gum - I like chewing on it. But I sure can't find a natural anywhere. Can you please list some recommend brands?

  • Daniel Kurz  - Evidence from true sources

    Most of this article is an overdone bunch of dung. The authors in order to get people going exaggerate claims made by unconfirmed people. They neglect to discuss the quantity of the chemicals taken up or the fact that they are on the GRAS list by the FDA.

    Furthermore, none of this article is cited in factual peer reviewed literature with data that has been reviewed by experts. The credentials of these authors is uncertain as is the evidence. I can say that many of these substances are safe in the quantities consumed. Sure if you ate a kilogram of sorbitol it will make you sick. Drinking 7 liters of water at once will also make you sick.

    Get your facts together and be critical of what you read.

  • Don Blanco  - All brains & no wisdom!

    What are you, a lawyer? (sound like one) Did you even read what you wrote? A complete oxymoron, going against all principle of common sense! Why would I want to consume ANYTHING in small amounts DAILY (or often) that would kill me in large amounts at once? Only a FOOL would do so knowingly. Would you eat a little bit of rat poison everyday in "safe" amounts (in other words, not enough to kill you, or make you sick shortly after consumption)??? I don't think so...prob'ly w/ the reasoning of "Why would I? I'm sure it wouldn't enhance the flavor or nutritional value of my food!" Sad thing is, you most likely already do! Every time you eat something with artificial sweeteners that contain some of the same MAIN ingredients as rat poison. So "EAT UP, son!" & don't 4get to get your proper dose of latent disease in that stick of gum after each meal! Sounds like you have a lil too much BPA & zearalenone in your diet as it is. Don't know what those are? Look it up. Then you can take your foot out of your mouth.

  • Clare

    Although said in an abrasive fashion, Mr. Kurz is not speaking a complete oxymoron. It is has been said,

    All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy.(Von der Besucht, Paracelsus, 1567)

    Take for instance, Vitamin D. A deficiency can have serious repercussions to your health. However, vitamin D also is a highly toxic chemical, and taking too much can lead to serious health problems including kidney stones, high blood pressure, deafness, and even death.

    I am not claiming that any of these ARE safe, but I will not with certainty say that they aren't, until I have proof. It would be fair to avoid them if you are suspicious, and to share suspicions, but it seems that this is fast becoming an ideological position, as opposed to a reasoned search for truth.

  • Bella  - Oh, noes!

    I love gum! Gum is to me what cigarettes are to chain smokers :dry: . So now I read I've been putting junk into my body? I ave tried, but am not a fan of natural gum...but certainly will not risk my health with regular gum, either. Learn something new every day.

  • Boris  - Toothpaste?

    Well It's good that I almost never chew gum, but what's wrong with toothpaste? Or red meat?

  • Asa  - Daniel...

    Daniel... I'd much rather be critical of what I eat, than of what I read. As a matter of fact I am critical of both. It doesn't take peer reviewed studies or whatnot to use common sense. A teaspoon of gasoline isn't going to kill you, either. I'd much rather not make a daily habit out of it though.

  • Lauri Meizler  - Finally, a great explanation of the evils of chewi

    This is really well done and I applaud you for explaining the evils of chewing gum in a . I also wanted to stress how it really messes up the metabolism. I also appreciate that you want to make this a community effort.
    All the best to you,

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