Chewing a lot of gum could be messing with your body— here's how to know if it's a problem
- Many people chew gum as a harmless habit or to keep
their breath fresh.
- Some reported benefits of chewing gum even include
reduced stress levels and fewer cavities.
- But chewing gum can also cause jaw and digestive
- Obsessive gum chewing can even be the sign of an eating
Chewing gum. It keeps your breath
fresh, your teeth clean, and some surveys have even claimed that
reduces stress levels
But for certain individuals, this
act can actually be harmful, become obsessive, and could even be
a sign of a serious health issue.
Chewing gum frequently can cause stomach problems and
even trigger IBS.
Chewing gum can cause you to swallow air pockets, which can
cause abdominal pain and bloat, according to
ABC News. This bloating and discomfort can
cause particular pain to those who suffer from IBS, or irritable
But that’s not the only reason it can cause stomach
problems: a study by Binghamton University in New York found
titanium dioxide, which is found in
many types of gum, could even mess
with your digestion.
People with eating disorders often use chewing gum as a
tactic to stave off eating.
INSIDER spoke to a registered dietitian and found out that
chewing through packs of gum a day is common amongst those who
suffer from an
“Chewing gum is one way to
suppress your appetite, which, therefore, means you can eat less
during the day and so it’s part of the behaviors that help our
clients to restrict their diets and begin to lose weight,”
Melainie Rogers, a certified eating disorder dietitian and the
founder and CEO of
, an eating disorder treatment center in New
York City, told INSIDER.
She said this problem is very
common amongst clients who suffer from anorexia or
Anorexic clients will chew gum in
place of eating all day to keep their appetite under control,
Rogers told INSIDER. Bulimic clients will also not eat during the
day and will chew gum until they get home to usually binge and
The artificial sweeteners, like
sorbitol, in sugar-free gum have been proven to temporarily
alleviate the discomfort of hunger pangs, according to a
study published in the
International Journal of Eating
Extreme amounts of sugar-free gum can be detrimental to
The increased consumption of
artificial sweeteners found in gum can cause bloating, cramping,
and chronic diarrhea. Additionally,
constant chewing can lead to temporomandibular joint
disorders (TMJ), causing chronic pain, according to
More severe health problems were
reported in those who consumed more than 30 grams of sorbitol per
day, equivalent to the amount found in about 24 pieces of sugar-free gum, according
to a study in the British Medical Journal, January 2008.
Rogers said some of her clients go through five or even 10 packs
of gum per day.
If you have noticed this behavior
in yourself or in someone you know, Rogers shared her advice with
INSIDER on what to do first:
“I think the first question to
ask yourself is: what’s your motivation [for] chewing so much
gum? Is it, in fact, to try to not eat? And then if that’s the
case, it may be a sign that your desire to not eat, restrict
calories, is getting a little obsessive.”
Seeking help from a
or a therapist would be the next step to
figure out what’s really going on.
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