In the early days of NASCAR the pit crew would put very soft rubber tires on the car for better grip around the corners. These tires were known as “gumball” tires, and not because they helped the drivers chew up the road.
Styrene-butadiene is the base for both chewing gum and race car tires. Rubber is essentially the thickened sap of a tropical latex tree. Chicle is the thickened sap from another tropical tree and the original source of chewing gum. Now gum is made with more synthetic sources, but you’re still chewing on the same thing.
Stick This Behind Your Ear
“Traditionally, the (gum) base came from tree resin. Today, it’s synthetic, made of plastics and rubbers.”
This comes from an episode of “How It’s Made” and it reveals what our chewing gum is really made of. Historically the natural tree resins and flavorful, healing herbs were combined and used medically. Now, gum is made in a lab and shouldn’t be considered medical at all.
When you chew gum your saliva production increases and the chemical makeup of the gum makes its way into your system. Synthetic rubbers. Plastics derived from petroleum. There are natural gum manufacturers, but most of the big names in gum use these materials to make their gum.
Something To Chew On
An investigation conducted by The Health Wyze Report found out what the “trade secrets” are in the gum world. The William Wrigley Jr. Company, one of the largest chewing gum manufacturers in the world admits to using “synthetic gum base materials” in its gum, but never explains exactly what those materials are.
The investigation discovered elastomers, synthetic resins, plasticizers, and other fillers, like polyvinyl acetates, which goes by another name: Carpenter’s glue. Glycerol ester of rosin also shows up in gum, as well as in varnishes.
“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,” says The Health Wyze Report. “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.”
Enough For The Whole Class
So what can you do if you love to chew? There are non-GMO gums that still use natural chicle and non-synthetic sweeteners. You can also ween yourself off the chewy stuff by reaching for one of these safe alternatives.
1.Licorice Root: When peeled and dried, licorice root gives the same chewing action that gum gives. Chewing licorice root can also help with acid reflux, canker sores, and peptic ulcers.
3.Parsley: If you thought minty gum was the only way to freshen your breath, you thought wrong. Chewing on a fresh sprig of parsley gives the same feeling as chewing gum, but gives you a healthier feeling.
4.Chopped Veggies: Celery is a good chewing veggie, same with carrots and peppers. As an added bonus, you get vitamins and nutrients from veggies. Pomegranate is another great idea.
5.Water: Can quiet the cravings and keeps your mouth hydrated.
6.Non-GMO brands: Simply, Spry and Glee all use natural ingredients.
Di Justo, P. (2015). Orbit White Gum. In This Is What You Just Put In Your Mouth? (First ed., pp. 88-92). New York, New York: Random House.