Mama always said: “Don’t swallow the chewing gum! It’ll stick up in your stomach.” And it should take a whole seven years until the sticky rubber spider web is finally digested. But is that even true?
We investigated the creepy myth and first of all we asked ourselves what chewing gum is actually made of. So: sweeteners are in it and flavorings. The latter give it the fresh mint, sweet strawberry or exotic cassis taste. In addition, humectants ensure that the soft lump does not dry out when chewed. So far so good. Probably the most frightening fact: The thing is made of plastic, which is mostly derived from petroleum. That’s why it’s so rubbery…
Acid and enzymes break down gum in the stomach
Lovely is different, isn’t it? Nevertheless, the question remains as to what happens when we swallow the plastic snack. Does the chewed ball really wander through our bodies for seven years? No no. The acid and enzymes in the stomach break down the flavourings, sweeteners and humectants into the smallest individual parts. These are digested normally. The remaining gum residue is expelled from the gastrointestinal tract to the exit.
Along with the remains of the food that is there. With chewing gum, this process takes four to twenty-four hours. Depending on how fast the gastrointestinal tract works. Voila! No sticking, less than seven years in our body. Of course, everyone has to decide for themselves whether they want to chew on a piece of petroleum plastic at all.