“Want some gum?” I asked Ella. “What IS gum, anyway?” was her reply. Thus, here is a careful study of what’s in MY gum, as featured on the back of my 12-piece of ‘Cinnamon Tingle‘ flavored Trident White.
SORBITOL:Although this is produced naturally by the body and some fruits, in this case we’re talking about an artificial sweetener, ingesting large amounts of which can lead to some abdominal pain, gas, and diarrhea. Sorbitol can also aggravate irritable bowel syndrome and fructose malabsorption.
GUM BASE: According to the US FDA’s “Code of Federal Regulation”, ‘gum base’ is a non-nutritive masticatory substance (ie: you chew it but don’t eat it). This is the bread of the sandwich that is gum. It holds all the flavors, breath fresheners, and everything else in place, and maintains its elasticity and chewiness. When you chew gum for way too long, you’re pretty much left with only this. But what is it? According to wikipedia:
The exact composition of gum bases is usually a trade secret, but common ingredients can be latexes (eg. leche, caspi, sorva, nispero, tunu, jelutong, or chicle, which is still commercially produced), paraffin wax or beeswax, polyethylene, polyvinyl acetate, stearic acid, and various natural gums.
Yum. Wax and rubber.
MALTITOL: This sugar alcohol, like the aforementioned sorbitol, also can have laxative effect and often can cause gas and/or bloating.
NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORING: Vaguely worded and mysterious. In this case, this probably refers to cinnamaldehyde, the chemical compound that makes cinnamon taste like cinnamon. Traditionally derived from the bark of cinnamon trees, it can also be synthesized chemically.
MANNITOL: Another sugar alcohol,this one also produces the ‘cooling effect’, becasue it has negative heat of solution, meaning it absorbs heat when dissolving. Plus, in larger doses, it’s ALSO a laxative!
We next move on to the ‘Less Than 2% Of’ section:
ACACIA: That’s right, the same tree they used to build the ark of the covenant is used as an ingredient in my gum.
ACESULFAME POTASSIUM: Also sometimes referred to by the devious code name ‘Ace K’, it’s the flavoring that gives Diet Rite its kick.
BHT: Possibly the scariest inredient in the list, butylated hydroxytoluene is followed by an apology of sorts. After BHT in the ingredients list, is the parenthetic “(TO MAINTAIN FRESHNESS)”. It seems like they know it’s bad, and they’re sheepishly trying to defend the inclusion of an ingredient that is banned in Japan, and that even McDonald’s stopped using in the ’80s.
CALCIUM CASEIN PEPTONE-CALCIUM PHOSPHATE:
Yeah, that’s one long ingredient. This “lactose-free milk derivative” is generally recognized as safe by the FDA, and seems to be the ‘whitening’ aspect of Trident White, which claims to whiten teeth and help prevent stains. It’s hard to find information on CCP-CP, becasue the only hits google comes up with are lists of the ingredients in this particular gum.
CANDELILLA WAX: From the stalks of my favorite shrubby spurge, comes this multipurpose wax. This is pretty much the most natural ingredient in the whole batch.
SODIUM STEARATE: The sodium salt of stearic acid and a major component of soap. Soap?
SOY LECITHIN: Also known as phosphatidylcholine, is added as an emulsifier, meaning it stabilizes the mixture of two or more substances that would normally not mix. It’s also is an integral part of cell membranes, and can be totally metabolized, so it is virtually non-toxic to humans.
SUCRALOSE: The chemical name for Splenda, a non-nutritive sweetener. This is basically a chlorinated form of sugar, which makes it approximately 500 times sweeter (seriously), but also raises some health concerns.
TITANIUM DIOXIDE: Also known as titania, is the pigment ‘Titanium White’, as seen on The Joy of Painting, and in toothpastes and tatoos everywhere.
So to sum up:
Laxative, Wax/Rubber, Laxative, Cinnamon-Flavored Oil, Cooling Laxative, Tree, Sweetener, Poison (TO MAINTAIN FRESHNESS), Milk, Wax, Soap, Um…Lecithin, Splenda and White Paint.