True or false?
The old wive’s tale that says it takes seven years to digest gum if you swallow it, is not true. Although chewing gum does resist the body’s efforts to dissolve it (hence the ‘indigestible’ moniker), it does not stay in the stomach. In fact, gum is eliminated as human waste in the same way, and at the same rate, as any other swallowed material. That said, it does come out the other end of us looking very much the same as when it went in our mouths.
Gum’s refusal to be broken down by our teeth, helps to support the idea that it must possess special properties that allow it to remain in the digestive system for years at a time, and helps to explain why we’re told not to swallow it. Gum’s mass, unlike foodstuffs, barely reduces regardless of how hard, or how long we chew it. And, on the scale of nutritional value, it sits at just a micron above none.
About 15-30% of chewing gum has a natural or synthetic rubbery property, which makes it resilient to hour after hour of teeth pounding. Vegetable-oil derivatives are used to keep it soft, and glycerin to maintain its moistness. Sorbitol and mannitol are added as sweetness to sugarless gum, with mannitol or starch used to ‘dust’ the gum. To give the gum its colour, smell and taste, often artificial and natural flavorings, colourings, preservatives, sugar, saccharin and/or corn syrup, are also added.
True Or False? It takes seven years to digest chewing gum after you swallow it.