You’ve probably heard that, if swallowed, chewing gum stays in your stomach for 7 years. But is that true? What happens if you swallow gum? That’s the question that this DNews’ video tried to answer.
“When we chew food, it disintegrates. That’s because we have an enzyme in our saliva that, along with chewing, starts breaking down food. Then we swallow it, and proteins and enzymes in our stomach breaks the food down further so all the necessary nutrients are ready to be absorbed by our intestines. What isn’t absorbed is excreted as waste along with other by-products our body wants to get rid of,” explained Amy, the presenter of the video.
So what’s the problem with gum? “Gum doesn’t disintegrate no matter how much we chew it and slobber on it. It just doesn’t start going through the digestive process in our mouths,” she said. That’s because gum uses a synthetic or natural rubber that mimics the properties chicle. It’s rubber mixed with sweetener and flavours that release into your mouth when you chew it. “So swallowing gum comes down to swallowing rubber, which just sounds like it’d be bad for your body”.
However, our bodies have other ways of getting things out. “Our digest tract is an active place. Muscle contractions that move food through our bodies will help the gum wad along, and it’ll eventually come out the other end. It’s sort of like the husks of corn seeds. Our bodies can’t digest them, but they don’t just pile up in our stomachs. But that doesn’t mean you should make a habit of swallowing gum”.