18 Feb #65 Fatal Conveniences™: Chewing Gum: Kick the Habit
Chewing gum is an American habit that seems wholesome and harmless. Some people swear by it to help quit smoking, freshen their breath and even keep from overeating. But is chewing gum really all it’s cracked up to be?
Welcome to Fatal Conveniences™
If you want fresh breath, chewing gum is probably not the best choice.
I still remember my mom buying chewing gum growing up and snapping it as she was going about her day. Lots of us pick up packs of gum at the grocery store or gas station on a whim. I bet lots of you have a pack in your pocket or backpack right now. But what is all this gum chewing doing to our bodies?
My main issue with chewing gum is the sugar. Chewing on sugar for hours at a time messes with the bacteria balance in your mouth. It can lead to excess plaque on your teeth and set you up for all kinds of dental health issues. It’s also not a good idea to put so much pressure on your jaw muscles. All that unnecessary chewing can lead to TMJ issues like headaches and sharp pain when eating.
But don’t worry, there is gum out there made with sugar substitutes like xylitol that are ok to chew every once in a while. You still should kick the long-term habit of gum chewing and just limit it to a few minutes after meals. In this segment, I’ll give you some great alternatives to gum, and some great brands to use instead of the sugary big name ones. This fatal convenience is not as shocking and scary as some of my past segments. But gum chewing is still a habit you should re-think. So spit out that gum, and listen up!
Other info in this segment:
- The history of chewing gum
- What sugar does to your oral health
- The chemicals found in some gums
- Alternatives for fresh breath
- Safe gum brands
Darin: It’s that time of the week for another fatal convenience. This is a bite-size segment that addresses some of society’s fatal conveniences and the steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of them. I define fatal conveniences as the things we may be doing because the world we live in makes us believe we have to, tap water, shampoo, sunglasses, food. I dive into the hidden truths behind some of our everyday choices that could not only be harming us but even killing us, so let’s dive in.
Darin: Hey, everybody, welcome to the show. Another great episode of Fatal Convenience with The Darin Olien Show. Guess who I am? I’m Darin Olien. I will be your navigator through this interesting and fascinating fatal convenience. This is an all-American kind of thing we all grew up doing, this is chewing gum. So there are places for this, so it’s not a complete fatal convenience. But also when you’re doing it in the wrong time too much, it definitely causes some problems. So this is literally one of America’s most prevalent habits, the act of just taking the juicy fruit. And back in the day, we had Bubbalicious kind of mimicking chewing tobacco as kids, throwing in these big slaps. And of course, listen, the easiest fatal convenience to this is the sugar, the sugar and constantly chewing gum creates some bad bacteria in your mouth and changes the microflora in your mouth. When you’re chewing gum, and it’s got sugar content in it, it’s changing the bacterial landscape in your mouth because it’s so much sugar for a long period of time. Your body’s trying to metabolize that through the enzyme amylase. And over a period of time, it changes that terrain in your mouth leaving you susceptible to other issues, and periodontists activity affecting the skin increasing plaque. So there you go. But here’s a little history. Obviously, it’s been around for our lifetime, but chewing gum literally dates back to the Greek and Roman times. Apparently, there was a thing called the mastic tree. And they called mastic or mastique. In the Americas, the ancient Mayans, people chew this substance called chicle derived from the sapodilla tree, this is interesting, as a way of quenching thirst to fight hunger. So it was really just a survival mechanism. So make sense, right? So if you have something in your mouth, it tricks your brain thinking that– and we’re not even getting into the– we’ll leave that up to Dr. Huberman but it would be interesting to ask the neurochemical side of getting ready for food really. And so there’s probably depression in increase in dopamine, but don’t quote me on that. I’m just guessing on that one. Native Americans from New England chewed gum from the spruce sap, a habit they passed on to the European settlers. So largely, it looks like the origins of this stuff was certainly Roman and Greek, Mayan and then Native American. And now the first kind of in 1860s, this guy John Colgan created the first flavored chewing gum, so let’s not give him credit for creating chewing gum because we just already said the indigenous people already did. In the record books, it goes down to say, well, he just alternated it. He’s the guy who made money. He’s the entrepreneurial person. It’s funny that they get the credit for it, but as the sole source of it, but anyway, it’s a cool story that this was in Louisville, Kentucky. Colgan, he was a pharmacist. He mixed powdered sugar and aromatic flavoring tolu, a powder obtained from an extract of the balsam tree. So it’s all going back to plants again. So chewing gum’s origin is plant derivatives and from plants. And so the first flavored chewing gum was created and it was called Taffy Tolu. There you go. So that’s a fun fact. And then in Singapore, they tried to completely forbid gum with heavy fines up to $6,000 for possession because I’ve been in Singapore several times, and they are so crazy when it comes to cleanliness. Even now, if you throw chewing gum down on the ground, you can get fined heavily. It’s super clean, so it’s cool that way, but it’s a little intense. So what makes it convenient, obviously, it’s a fun flavor to put into your mouth and feel the fresh breath after a meal, cooling sensation in the mouth. You know, it’s just this habit, it’s fun to chew. It relieves stress. And apparently, there might be a little boosting of memory. But the reason why we do it is it feels good, and it kind of gives that mouth a fresh kind of flavor. And certainly, if you haven’t eaten for a while it can curb those cravings a bit too. And my mom was always chewing, I think it was Red Baron or something and snapping it all the time, snap, snap, snap, snap. So I grew up with a mother snapping the gum. So here’s where it takes a turn. So like I said, the changing of the terrain in the mouth with sugar causes a problem. Here’s where it aids in the digestive issues. Think about it, so this is common sense. If you’re throwing in chewing gum and your body thinks that it’s supposed to digest something, your digestive enzymes are getting ready to digest food. So that can absolutely cause and there was a study done, Bringhamton University in New York. They show that chewing gum can cause irritable bowel syndrome just by doing this excess swallowing causes abdominal pain and bloating. This was according to Patrick Takahashi, a medical doctor, Chief gastroenterologist at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles. And certainly, there are other issues with this. So interesting, I didn’t even think about but there was another issue. So as you chew gum, the excess swallowing is also swallowing small bits of air, and this causes gas and bloating. It’s actually called aerophagea. So that is strange. It’s actually a condition that by chewing excess gum contributes to it. So if you’re having digestive issues, chewing gum is a bad idea. And obviously, here’s just a little bit of a rabbit hole. So you know, the sugar-free definitely can cause problems. So I’m not even going to get into the really bad chemicals as it relates to the artificial sweeteners. But here are some of the ones that are better, but can also cause because of sugar alcohols, so xylitol, sorbitol, erythritol or carbohydrates. They’re still sugars, but the sugar alcohols. And everyone is a little different and everyone has a little different tolerance to them. Like xylitol also has some medicinal qualities too, but it definitely cause cramping and diarrhea in some people. So you want to be aware of that. And also there was a study published in the Journal of eating behaviors that by chewing gum had no effect on calories consumed, but chewing mint-flavored gum reduced the intake of healthy food, usually around fruit and increased the likelihood of eating junk food such as like potato chips. Chewing gum is kind of fine in this perspective of healthy food choices, but when you’re adding other flavors, now it changes the game. And how much of the flavors of chewing gum are there? Well, it’s all about flavor. So that has a potential of changing the likelihood of you eating healthier food and actually steering you towards unhealthy food. And also people underestimate TMJ or the jaw joint and the jaw joints connected this triangle basically from the subocciput of your cranium. And the TMJ relates to migraines, stress, all of that stuff. So if you’re chewing gum and it’s adding stress to the TMJ, this can cause problems. Excessive chewing gum has been linked to symptoms of strained TMJ associated with the overuse of these muscles. Also, here’s an interesting aspect of that, I didn’t think of either. Number one, if you still have mercury fillings, get rid of them. I know it’s expensive, but do everything you can to get rid of that Mercury. You’re having mercury poisoning and heavy metal poisoning in your fillings. Hopefully, they’re not doing that anymore. But by chewing gum, it’s releasing more and more of that mercury that’s in those fillings. So that just continues to create more harm. So just going down the artificial sweetener side a little bit more. The fact that aspartame is still in chewing gum is so criminal to me, I can’t believe it. So this is a common artificial sweetener, so stay away from aspartame. It’s processed. Here’s the thing. It’s processed down the line in the body into poisonous menthol and carcinogenic formaldehyde. Hear me. So by taking aspartame and you’re chewing gum, I would rather have you chew gum if you have to, that has a little like organic sugar in it because the metabolism side of this producing carcinogenic formaldehyde is so gnarly inside your body. According to the study at Cell Biology and Toxicology. This sweetener acts as an excitotoxin, meaning it excites neurons in the brain until they burn out, lowering intelligence. That’s what aspartame is doing. Aspartame has been linked to fibromyalgia. According to Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, found a connection between artificial sweetener use and weight gain. Both aspartame and acesulfame potassium, another fake sugar found in gum lead to obesity by creating higher motivation to eat more. A study in preventative medicine also labeled the second sweetener a carcinogen linking it to tumors. On the other hand, conditions such as irritable bowel, like I said before, can be agitated by those sugar alcohols. And this is also showing that the research done by Oral Health and Cooperative Research Center, sugar-free gum doesn’t cause cavities but it does weaken your enamel. You also want to stay away from whitening ingredients like titanium dioxide that they’re putting in there, just crazy, linked to asthma and Crohn’s disease. This is crazy. Isn’t it crazy that they allow this stuff to be put in gum? Flavoring, and preservatives, BHT has also been linked to becoming rancid. And from the internal Journal of Toxicology, BHT has shown that toxicity in organs, it causes damage to the kidney, lungs and liver. So what can we do? Obviously, this is a habit. If you have to chew gum, buy the best gum and I’ll give you some recommendations in a second. And I would recommend chew gum after a meal. Do it quick, five or 10 minutes, spit it out. It’s great. It’s a mouth freshener. It’s not going to cause any problems if you have a quality chewing gum. Also linked, drinking more water helps flush away the bacteria or the sense that you feel you need to freshen up your mouth. So there’s definitely dental care that helps with this stuff and water consumption is great. Even there’s research around consuming green tea. So maybe after a meal, the polyphenols will help freshen your breath. That’s a nice little hack. There are great herbs like time oregano, clove, cinnamon, a little essential oil cinnamon, maybe just cardamom. All these things give all the fresh breath you need. Obviously, peppermint is fantastic, parsley, basil. All of these things are incredible. And also a little soleil, a little saltwater rinse is fantastic to help the pH of the skin as well as freshen up the mouth. So simply put some salt in a water. It doesn’t matter that it’s that much. A teaspoon per glass, flush it around. Tea tree oil is fantastic, antimicrobial, great for oral hygiene. You can even throw that in a little shooter. Ginger is fantastic. So here are some good brands, Simply Gum is plastic-free. Literally, they test it. There are no microplastics. That’s good. It’s biodegradable, nothing synthetic, and no artificial flavors. There’s also this other one I’ve had several times PUR Gum made from the highest quality ingredients, 100% xylitol, which is fine unless you’re sensitive to it. But xylitol is pretty good, very low on the glycemic index. And so there you go. Stay away from the habit of chewing gum. That’s my number one recommendation, if you have to have it, have it after a meal, short bursts, but with really good quality, Simply Gum, PUR Gum. And if you have other sources, let us know. So there you go. That’s chewing gum. I didn’t mean to pull the rug out from under you on that one, but it can lead to mouth issues, teeth issues, digestive issues, and get you exposed to toxic ingredients. No bueno. Gotta stop that stuff. Recommendations, other habits to get into, all of this stuff is simple habits that need to be changed. So if you like the fresh breath, I’ve given you several examples. If you like to chew gum, it’s the timing of when you do it and for how long you do it with the right kind. Okay, I love you all, and stay happy and stay healthy.
Darin: Thanks for tuning in everyone. I hope that left you feeling inspired to take a closer look at the everyday choices you’re making and how they could be impacting your health and even the planet. If you want to learn more about life’s fatal conveniences, head over to fatalconveniences.com. You can sign up for the exclusive access to Fatal Conveniences episodes, news, insights, and more. And all this great stuff gets sent each week straight to your inbox, making it really easy. Now, that’s a convenience without the negative side effects. It only takes a few seconds to join. Just fill in the form and take that amazing step towards making better choices. Remember, small changes can have big impact. So, keep diving my friends, keep diving. And if you haven’t had a chance to check out the interview, I released earlier on the week, here’s what you missed:
EP#64. Robby Barbaro & Cyrus Khambatta on The Truth About Insulin Resistance –
Cyrus: I am not a freak of nature. What happened inside of my body or what is happening inside of my body is a biological phenomenon that has been very well described, very well studied, properly characterized. And it’s not applicable to just me as a human being. It’s applicable to all humans. It’s applicable to people with type one. It’s applicable to people with other forms of diabetes. And it’s applicable to people that don’t even have diabetes. So once I learned that information, I ended up meeting Robby halfway through graduate school. And then when we finally met each other, we were like, hey, how do you feel about being best friends? And he was like, cool, I’m into it. And I was like, cool. How do you feel about taking over the diabetes world. He’s like, cool, I’m into it, let’s do it. And then we decided that we wanted to really try and teach people living with all forms of diabetes how they could follow a similar path, so that they could get number one, credible science-based information. Number two, have the tools and the resources to be able to start changing their diet and lifestyle in a step by step manner.
Darin: This episode is produced by my team at Must Amplify, an audio marketing company that specializes in giving a voice to a brand and making sure the right people hear it. If you would like or are thinking about doing a podcast or even would like a strategy session to add your voice to your brand in a powerful way, go to www.mustamplify.com/darin. That’s www.mustamplify.com/darin.