The Crazy Truth Behind Swallowing Gum

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January 04, 2018

She would always say, “Don’t make that face, you’ll get stuck like that” or “Don’t look in the microwave, your eyes will hurt.” For years and years - and even to this day - my mother will say things with added dramatic effect just to prove a point.

One thing she always said was “Don’t swallow your gum - it will take seven years to digest.” That warning sticks with me now, decades later. The fear of swallowing gum always resurfaces when I pop a piece of cool minty gum and I can’t help but wonder what would really happen if I did swallow my gum.

The logic behind the seven-year digestion period is that a single piece of gum has so many unnatural ingredients that, if digested, the human body would have to work hard for seven straight years to break down all of the chemicals and ingredients.

Some ingredients that make digestion difficult are latex, Aspartame, tree sap, and rubber. While there are several more ingredients, just those four are enough to confuse the human digestive system.

So you might be thinking, “If it doesn’t break those ingredients down, what happens?” Well, the truth about swallowing gum is this: gum never digests! Seriously! The gum piece itself will pass through your body, but the gum itself will not break down.

That is a shocking thought! In fact, one physician put it this way: “Gum passes slower than most foods, but eventually the housekeeping waves in the digestive track will push it through, and it will come out the other end completely untouched.” Physicians do not recommend people swallow multiple pieces of gum as it already has a challenge getting out of the body.

So, in all fairness, Mother wasn’t entirely wrong! Gum is practically impossible for the human body to digest fully. I would suggest not swallowing your gum, but if it does happen, you’ll be okay!!

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