Did you know, regular chewing gum is made from artificial ingredients? And not just any ingredients! Plastic, rubber and waxes form the main component for many chewing gums! For decades, people have been chewing on these chemicals, and probably didn’t even realize it!
Chewing gum as we know it, dates all the way back to 1860’s. Back then, chewing gum was made from chickle, which is derived, or rather tapped, from the Manilkara tree which grew in the Mexican Rainforest. This substance formed the gum base and gave the chewing gum the elastic characteristic that it is so well known for.
When chewing gum started to become more popular, producers had trouble keeping up with demand, so they were looking for new methods to catch up with this demand. And what they came up with was equally surprising as scary. Yes, plastic, rubbers and other artificial chemical components that shouldn’t be nowhere near someone’s mouth let alone in your body, where used.
Recently, supported by the growing trend to live more healthy, producers started to manufacture chewing gum the old way again. Chemicals where kicked out, and replaced with the good old natural chickle.
In addition, the flavouring has changed. Where traditional gum is using sugar to give it it’s sweetness, natural gum uses xyitol to make it sweet. This naturally alcohol found in the birch tree, acts as a substitute for sugar. Because it is made from trees, it is also referred to as “wood sugar”. Its chemical structure looks like something between sugar and alcohol, although it is neither.
Some of the benefits of using xylitol is that it prevents tooth decay and a dry mouth. This in contrast to sugar. Sugar attracts bacteria which can cause infections and other oral problems. Bacteria transform the sugars into acids that corrode teeth and cause cavities to form.
But the xylitol in natural chewing gum eliminated this problem. Bacteria cannot process the xylitol, meaning no acids are formed. You see, the bacteria use sugars as a source of energy. Since bacteria cannot consume xylitol, their source of energy is taken away from them which causes them to die. The result, a more hygienic mouth!
In addition, the sugar causes bacteria to multiply at a very fast rate. Bacteria don’t process the xylitol, therefore they do not multiply at a far slower rate. Thus, by using xylitol, you don’t need to worry about bacteria as you do with sugar.
Since the xylitol significantly reduces the development of the bacteria, natural chewing gum is highly encouraged for mums with new bourns. The transmission of bacteria from mother to child is highly decreased, resulting in a smaller chance of babies getting ill or infections. By chewing natural chewing gum, this transmission can be reduced to approximately 80%, according to studies.
Regarding sweetness, it has about the same sweetness as sugar, but with less calories. It only contributes about 2.4 calories per gram, compared to the 4 calories per gram that sugar does. This low calory count, also make it much safer for people that suffer from diabetes, because xylitol does not need insulin the metabolize. Furthermore, the xylitol is absorbed more slowly than sugar, resulting the blood sugar levels to stay at a more constant level.
Only few side effects come with the usage of xylitol, but only when taken in large proportions. When consumed approximately 30 to 40 grams, the body might start to protest that comes in the form of diarrhea.
Do yourself a huge favour. By using only natural chewing gum, you can already eliminate a large portion of your daily sugar usage which will make you healthier and happier, and it will also significantly reduce your dentist bill!