Chewing Gum: Why Quit (+ Better Options)


The minty candy taste of chewing gum is a low calorie technique to change desserts, combat cravings, or cope with stress. These days “healthy” chewing gums are even out there in health meals shops, both sugar-free or with some helpful substances. Of course, just because one thing is calorie-free or sugar-free doesn’t imply it’s wholesome.

As with nearly all the pieces, there are professionals and cons to chewing gum. (Sorry to disappoint if you happen to have been hoping for a easy, easy reply!) As with most questions relating to health, it’s at the very least attainable to try the analysis and make an knowledgeable (sane) determination.

Let’s check out the advantages and downsides, lets?

The Proven Benefits of Chewing Gum

Chewing gum has an a variety of benefits in its favor! Here are a couple of.

Reduces Anxiety

There’s little question chewing gum can take the sting off the nerves, and that is confirmed in medical research. In a small research of 50 younger grownup volunteers, those that chewed gum twice a day for 2 weeks rated their anxiousness as considerably decrease than those that didn’t. Another research discovered that not solely does chewing gum cut back anxiousness but it surely additionally reduces cortisol ranges.

Sadly, the anxiety-reducing advantages don’t final, because the research confirmed no vital distinction in anxiousness after 4 weeks. At greatest, information on the results of chewing gum on stress ranges look like blended.

Increases Serotonin within the Brain

Because chewing gum reduces stress, it has additionally been proven that it may possibly improve serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter. Increased serotonin in flip soothes the nerves that conduct ache. So, sure, chewing gum might truly work as a ache reducer!

Increases Cognitive Performance

The similar research that discovered chewing gum reduces anxiousness additionally discovered gum chewers expertise much less psychological fatigue. Scientists are nonetheless investigating the connection. It may be as a result of chewing will increase oxygenated blood within the mind, or as a result of chewing indicators the discharge of extra insulin (as a result of it anticipates meals), which in flip permits the mind to soak up extra glucose.

Activates the Vagus Nerve

Chewing on the whole can stimulate the vagus nerve. Poor vagus nerve activation is likely one of the causes of all trendy illnesses.

The vagus nerve wanders between the mind and a number of other essential organs, reminiscent of the guts and the digestive system. It controls intestine motion and secretion of digestive juice, amongst different issues. It is believed to be one of many ways in which gut health and gut bacteria affect the brain. This would possibly clarify the results of gum chewing on temper.

By activating the vagus nerve, gum chewing may also improve intestine motion and secretion of digestive enzymes. One research steered that chewing gum might even assist new moms restore bowel features after C-sections.

Improves Dental Health

Studies recommend that sugar-free gum use might cut back the dangers of dental decay. The proof remains to be unclear for different dental health advantages (and the extended publicity to acidic substances in some gums may very well improve the dangers).

It could also be that chewing gum merely stimulates further saliva manufacturing and helps the mouth clear itself. Gum containing erythritol or xylitol may additionally kill dangerous oral micro organism and improve the nice ones.

Chewing Gum: The Flip Side

Ready to go decide up a pack of gum? Not so quick! There are downsides to think about.

Not Effective for Weight Loss (Bummer!)

While it looks as if conserving the mouth busy with one thing low calorie would battle cravings and overeating, chewing gum had no vital impact on weight reduction in a randomized control trial involving chubby and overweight adults. Chewing gum considerably decreased self-reported starvation, however general had no impact on calorie consumption.

Contains (Potentially) Toxic Ingredients

There are many questionable substances in chewing gums (together with the natural ones you discover in health meals shops!). Here are a couple of widespread ones:

  • Gum base, a proprietary mixture of 46 totally different chemical substances that the FDA permits below the title “gum base.” These substances might be pure plant resins, beeswax, or petroleum-based chemical substances.
  • Artificial antioxidants reminiscent of butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). BHT is linked to most cancers dangers, bronchial asthma, and behavioral points in youngsters.
  • Fillers reminiscent of talc and cornstarch (which might be genetically modified)
  • Titanium dioxide to keep up the colourful white shade
  • Artificial meals colours together with FD&C shade and caramel shade
  • And in fact, synthetic sweeteners like aspartame

Ruins Metabolism

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and acesulfame Ok are essential to make gum stay candy for various minutes. Even a synthetic candy style can set off the physique to launch insulin, which may decrease blood sugar and worsen insulin resistance. In addition, synthetic sweeteners are typically poisonous to good intestine micro organism.

“Tricks” the Digestive System

As talked about, chewing will get the digestive system started by activating the vagus nerve. The intestine then secretes enzymes and begins to maneuver. This can worsen some digestive issues like abdomen ulcers or irritable bowel syndrome … a reasonably uncomfortable draw back.

Leads to Swallowing Excess Air

Gassy? Gum chewing can result in swallowing extra air, which may trigger stomach ache and bloating.

Disrupts Sleep

Healthy circadian rhythm and quality sleep are essential for health, and one of many methods our our bodies distinguish day from nighttime is eating. Studies have proven that gum chewing will increase alertness, which is an effective factor in the course of the day however not at evening. So you would possibly wish to have that piece of gum within the morning!

Causes Jaw Problems

Gum chewing would possibly really feel good, however our jaws aren’t made to chew constantly for hours. Excessive chewing can result in tight jaw muscle mass, and jaw muscle imbalances if one has the behavior of chewing solely on one facet. This can result in temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ) and pressure complications.

Not Biodegradable

80 – 90% of chewing gum in the marketplace is product of plastic and never biodegradable, which may present main issues for the surroundings. In truth chewing gum is so synthetic that bugs received’t eat it (and no human ought to both), however fish and birds might eat it and probably choke.

So … What to Do Instead?

Although chewing gum has some health advantages, in the end all the pieces about chewing gum is synthetic. Typical chewing gums are product of a number of dangerous synthetic substances, and the chewing expertise itself can set off unfavourable responses within the physique.

In quick, the downsides that include chewing gum actually outweigh the advantages. And the advantages will be gained extra successfully in different methods.

Try These Instead:

  • The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) may also help mitigate stress and decrease anxiousness.
  • Bright mild publicity (i.e., the solar) and exercise can enhance serotonin ranges, which improves temper and reduces anxiousness.
  • Eating slowly and chewing meals completely can present the helpful results of vagus nerve activation with out the unfavourable results of chewing gum.
  • Deep respiration and meditation may also help improve blood movement to the mind and thus enhance cognitive efficiency.
  • Improved vagus nerve exercise can come from singing, prayers, and different types of calm meditation.
  • Improved oral health will be achieved by strategies that assist good oral micro organism flora, reminiscent of oil pulling, homemade remineralizing toothpaste, herbal mouthwash, and supporting dental health nutritionally.

Do you chew gum? Have you skilled any of those advantages or downsides? Please weigh in under!

Sources:

  1. Dodds, M. W. (2012). The oral health advantages of chewing gum. Journal of the Irish Dental Association, 58(5), 253-261.
  2. Johnson, A. J., Jenks, R., Miles, C., Albert, M., & Cox, M. (2011). Chewing gum moderates multi-task induced shifts in stress, temper, and application. A re-examination. Appetite, 56(2), 408-411.
  3. Kamiya, Ok., Fumoto, M., Kikuchi, H., Sekiyama, T., Mohri-Lkuzawa, Y., Umino, M., et al. (2010). Prolonged gum chewing evokes activation of the ventral a part of prefrontal cortex and suppression of nociceptive responses: Involvement of the serotonergic system. Journal of Medical and Dental Sciences, 57(1), 35-43.
  4. Mohri, Y., Fumoto, M., Sato-Suzuki, I., Umino, M., & Arita, H. (2005). Prolonged rhythmic gum chewing suppresses nociceptive response through serotonergic descending inhibitory pathway in people. Pain, 118(1-2), 35-42.
  5. National Research Council (US) Committee on Diet and Health. Washington (DC). (1989). Diet and health: Implications for lowering continual illness threat. 22
  6. Sasaki-Otomaru, A., Sakuma, Y., Mochizuki, Y., Ishida, S., Kanoya, Y., & Sato, C. (2011). Effect of normal gum chewing on ranges of hysteria, temper, and fatigue in wholesome younger adults. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health: CP & EMH, 7, 133-139.
  7. Scholey, A. (2004). Chewing gum and cognitive efficiency: A case of a purposeful meals with operate however no meals? Appetite, 43(2), 215-216.
  8. Scholey, A., Haskell, C., Robertson, B., Kennedy, D., Milne, A., & Wetherell, M. (2009). Chewing gum alleviates unfavourable temper and reduces cortisol throughout acute laboratory psychological stress. Physiology & Behavior, 97(3-4), 304-312.
  9. Shikany, J. M., Thomas, A. S., McCubrey, R. O., Beasley, T. M., & Allison, D. B. (2012). Randomized managed trial of chewing gum for weight reduction. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 20(3), 547-552.
  10. Swoboda, C., & Temple, J. L. (2013). Acute and continual results of gum chewing on meals reinforcement and power consumption. Eating Behaviors, 14(2), 149-156.
  11. Toors, F. A. (1992). Chewing gum and dental health. literature assessment. [Chewing-gum et sante dentaire. Revue de litterature] Revue Belge De Medecine Dentaire, 47(3), 67-92.





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