chewing gum
Image Source: wmsmile

If we all start recounting all the things we heard as a child about swallowing gum, we wouldn’t get up for hours. But here’s the truth about the case!

The Myth

The myth we all heard growing up was that if you swallow it, it remains in your stomach for 7 years before it is digested. That’s not true! Neither is the idea that a tree grows in your stomach after you swallow gum. What happens is that you grow a rubber elf inside.. Just kidding!

swallow chewing gum
Image Source: Cookist

What’s The Truth?

One can occasionally forget to spit the gum out. Is it really that big of a deal? Doctors say otherwise. The truth is that yes, your body can not digest gum. However, it comes out intact in your stool. 

How Does It Work?

With standard food, three processes go to work in your body to turn food into fuel. The first is obvious: Chewing. Second is that saliva coats your food and lastly, the stomach acids turn any remaining food pieces into mush. This lets the food pass through the rest of the digestive tract easily.

swallow chewing gum
Image Source: Medium

However, gum plays by its own rules. As much as you chew it, gum doesn’t break up into smaller pieces nor does it become mush.

It’s important to know that today most gum today is made from natural or synthetic polymers. It’s nothing to worry about as it won’t make you sick but it does hit your stomach intact. Your stomach, however, is equipped to deal with foods that don’t digest like seeds.

The muscles of your digestive tract move it along and eventually flush it out of your system. 

Too Much Gum Is A Different Story

swallow chewing gum
Image Source: The Active Times

Those who are afraid should know gum does not stay in your body. However, having/swallowing too much of it is a different story. 

The more there is, the more difficult it is to process. This gum mass could potentially clog the digestive tract too. As a result, an intestinal blockage can be caused which can trigger stomach pain or constipation. 

Studies have also shown that chewing gum can actually relax you too!

Next time you unwrap a delicious piece of gum, don’t be too wary of swallowing it. However, be mindful of it just as you should be with everything else. Everything is best consumed in moderation. (Except for burgers maybe?)

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