How Long Does It Really Take to Digest Swallowed Gum

When you were a kid, your parents probably told you not to swallow watermelon seeds because they’d grow in your stomach. Many misconceptions have been perpetuated—becoming modern day “facts, many of us still carry the belief we obtained during childhood that it takes gum seven years to digest in the stomachs of those who swallow it. There are actually several parts of gum that digest as easily as other foods, such as sweeteners, flavoring agents (like the oil that gives gum its minty flavors), and softeners like vegetable oil. The part of gum that your body has trouble digesting is the base, which was once the sap of the sapodilla tree known as chicle. After WWII, when the demand for gum became greater than the tree itself could yield, gum bases changed and eventually became a mix of polymers, both synthetic and natural. Still, your body won’t be able to break the gum base down like it does other food, even with the help of seven-years’ time. This also doesn’t mean, however, that your body will retain the gum for longer than anything else you’re likely to swallow. Instead of just sitting in your stomach, a piece of swallowed gum will move through your internal plumping like all food. If you’re a gum-chewer, the truth is this: you don’t have to worry about swallowing the occasional piece of gum. However, it’s important not to take it too far, as swallowing too much gum can potentially cause internal problems in small children….Ed
Source: Julia Tilford /Photo:pixhere

Posted in All Stories, Ed McMahon

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