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Thursday, 10 November 2011
Why Chewing Gum is Bad for You
What is chewing gum made of?
No one quite knows. There's flavor, color and sugar, but they're everywhere you look.
So what exactly are you chewing. More importantly, why is some of it bad for you?
According to research by the Canadian government, there's a draft list of 17 substances that shouldn't be on in chewing gum. These include Vinyl acetate; according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the WHO's cancer research initiative, vinyl acetate causes tumors in rats. However, it is believed that only trace amounts of vinyl acetate entered the the gum base material.
Sugar? Kind of. It's actually the preservative Butylated Hydroxyanisol (BHA), which is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen", according to a recent report on carcinogens the American government's National Toxicology Program. It gets sweeter with sugar-free gums that contains artificially sweetened aspartame and acesulfame K. The former can become toxic during storage or being heated, and cause brain damage in high doses.
Its phenylalanine content makes it dangerous for those afflicted with phenylketonuria (PKU), and it also causes, and worsens epileptic seizures, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, attention deficit disorder (ADD), diabetes, thyroid problems, Alzheimer's disease, chronic fatigue, depression and eye conditions (macular degeneration, diabetic blindness and glaucoma)
Acesulfame K has caused cancer in animals.
Then the more authentic tasting sucralose, which is produced by chlorinating sugar, and can cause shrunken thryroid glands and kidney and liver problems at high doses to animals. Human testing revealed an increase in blood glucose levels, and regular consuming it will mess up your gastrointestinal tract, leading to cramping and bladder problems.
The zylitol, mannitol and sorbitol are good for fighting tooth decay, but the slowly digested sugar alcohols stay in your gut longer pull water into your intestine, creating a laxative effect in doses higher than grams, causing diarrhoea, bloating and stomach pain.