The hidden dangers: Chewing gum may not seem like a place to look for toxic ingredients, but we urge you to look closer. Containing a slew of chemicals, artificial flavors and colors, gum is not as innocuous as you might think. Most all brands of gum contain ingredients that may be the hidden cause of your upset stomach, nagging headache, or even blurred vision.
Why you should avoid it: Turn over your packet of gum and take a gander at its list of ingredients. What you will find is fake sugars such as sorbitol, acesulfame potassium, aspartame and sucralose, artificial flavors, and a rainbow of chemical colors (Blue #2, Red #40, Yellow #5). Artificial sugars are known to lead to a wide range of symptoms from bloating, nausea and diarrhea, to more severe complications such as Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, ADD, birth defects, lymphoma, arthritis and MS. As for artificial colors, research has concluded that they lead to hyperactivity, and magnifying symptoms of attention deficit disorder. There is also some indications that certain food colors may lead to cancer as well. Finally, we have BHT. BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) is a preservative that is also used as an embalming fluid and in jet fuel. BHT has been linked to cancer, asthma and behavioral issues in children. Sounds like a delicious food additive? Stay clear.
skip it: Artificial colors, artificial flavorings and sugars, BHT, GMOs, corn syrup
Here’s what to do: Ditch the chewing gum and opt for the natural treatment instead. Many people have found chewing on herbs, such as spearmint, to be a good alternative, especially since they do such a good job improving the breath. Another option is raw ginger, which helps to ease the stomach and nerves. Simply peel the root, cut off a little slice and gnaw away. If herbs and roots are not your thing, grab a package of organic peppermints. We are addicted to St. Claire’s Organics, which is made with molasses, cane juice and peppermint essential oil – no funny preservatives, GMO sugars or chemicals here. As for xylitol gum, be wary. While it can have certain benefits such as having a minimal impact on blood sugar and lowering bad bacteria in the mouth, xylitol is also known to cause gastrointestinal disturbances, exacerbating acid reflux and Candida. But if you just can’t seem to live without gum, xylitol containing gum is the lesser of evils. Our choice is Spry Spearmint.
Use Me: Fresh spearmint, raw ginger, organic peppermints