Chewing a lot of gum could be messing with your body— here's how to know if it's a problem



Chewing gum could be messing with your
body.

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Pictures


  • 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
    issues.
  • Obsessive gum chewing can even be the sign of an eating
    disorder. 

Chewing gum. It keeps your breath
fresh, your teeth clean, and some surveys have even claimed that
it


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
bowel syndrome.

But that’s not the only reason it can cause stomach
problems: a study by Binghamton University in New York found
that 

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


eating
disorder


.

“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


Balance

, 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
bulimia.

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
then purge.


chewing gum
nyul/iStock

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
Disorders

in September
2009.

Extreme amounts of sugar-free gum can be detrimental to
your health.

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

Livestrong
.

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

nutritionist

or a therapist would be the next step to
figure out what’s really going on.


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