Friday, February 3, 2017

The Chew

Remember being told that if you swallow chewing gum, it stays in your belly for seven years?

No one knows how the Moms Of America came up with the figure of how many years a wad of Dubble-Bubble would take up residence within you, but that was what we were told and there was no questioning a Mom with medical science on her side.

From the same hallways of truth came, "If you swallow that seed, a watermelon will grow in you" and, "You will DROWN if you go in the water within an hour of eating." 

Well, chomp away, Wrigleyphiles! No less a person than the Official White House Spokesperson, Press Secretary Sean Spicer, is in the bizarre habit of chewing (and swallowing) 35 sticks of Orbit Cinnamon gum for breakfast.

I will repeat that. Sean Spicer, the president's mouthpiece, chews 35 pieces of Cinnamon Orbit gum for breakfast and swallows them.

Image result for sean spicer crazy
"Two and a half packs by noon," Spicer told the Washington Post. "I talked to my doctor about it, he said it’s no problem."

I do not know who Spicer's doctor is. Perhaps he's just one of those doctors who tells his patients what they want to hear, or maybe he's right, and those of us who think that shoving gum base, sweeteners, softeners/plasticizers, artificial cinnamon flavor, food colors, and powdered polyol coating down our necks is not the best thing to do are all wrong.  Nutritionally speaking, that is.

Dr Ben Kim is a Canadian blogger and physician. He gave us another opinion to chew on: 

"When you chew gum you send your body physical signals that food is about to enter your body. The enzymes and acids that are activated when you chew gum are therefore released, but without the food they're intended to digest. This can cause bloating, an overproduction of stomach acid, and can compromise your ability to produce sufficient digestive secretions when you actually do eat food. Some people may also have adverse gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, from the artificial sweeteners that are commonly found in chewing gum."

Meanwhile, the Mayo Clinic says it won't kill you:

"Although chewing gum is designed to be chewed and not swallowed, it generally isn't harmful if swallowed. If you swallow gum, it's true that your body can't digest it. But the gum doesn't stay in your stomach. It moves relatively intact through your digestive system and is excreted."

I'm no doctor, but I have heard of a disorder called pica, which involves having an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive.  Pica sufferers crave (and eat) paper, paint, stones, glass, chalk, and worse.  Much, much worse.

Chewing gum is good food only if John Grisham is a good writer or dogs playing poker is good art or ten-minute clarinet solos are great music, but if you want to feel better about your own life this morning, be glad that you aren't Sean Spicer's gastroenterologist.

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