|MYTH VS. TRUTH|
Does it take 7 years to digest gum?
It takes seven years to digest gum?
The main ingredients of chewing gum are: a natural or synthetic gum base, glycerin, vegetable-oil based compounds, sorbitol and mannitol or saccharin, preservatives, flavorings, and colorings. While the majority of these ingredients can be easily digested in the human body, the gum base cannot be broken down and passes through the digestive tract and out of the body intact just as any other food stuff does. While it's best to spit out your gum after the flavor wanes, your gum will not stick the sides of your stomach or intestines if you swallow it. This is simply an old wives tale that kept children from swallowing their gum. As a child, who could argue the wisdom of a mother?
Even though it is a myth that it takes seven years to digest gum, there actually have been a few documented cases of swallowed gum causing an intestinal obstruction. The chances are very slim but it has happened but then again these documented cases had massive amounts of chewing gum in the fecal debris (poop) where the children swallowed six, seven, eight pieces of chewing gum a day. That's a lot of gum!
In my experience as a healthcare practitioner and one who actually used to perform colonic irrigations in a clinical setting, I can tell you that gum really does harmlessly pass right on through the gastro-intestinal tract completely undigested in healthy and ill patients alike. I've also seen pennies, nickles, dimes, prescription drugs, vitamins, paper clips and other strange things pass through the GI tract that cannot be broken either. Having said that, chewing gum gets no special "pass" on the human body.
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