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The Debate on Gum

Micky Rai, Journalist

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Many teenagers chew gum every day. However, studies such as the one done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), show that a lot of the ingredients used in gum manufacturing can potentially harm the human body. Gum has a long shelf life because of the preservative Aspartame. This ingredient has been claimed to cause headaches and even cancer. But, there has been no evidence that provides this information. Even though this singular ingredient may not cause adverse effects on the human body, there are two other “chemicals” that could be damaging to us. The IARC has done research on rats to test the side effects of ingesting titanium dioxide and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). BHT is a preservative that prevents fat from going rancid, which makes the food last longer. The reason BHT is so controversial is that some of the rats that were tested developed cancer, but yet again there was no specific connection between this preservative and cancer. 

One of the main reasons that chewing gum can be bad for you is its nutrition. Many people are addicted to chewing gum, a national poll done by statista.com says that 53.5 percent of the population of America chew gum. Now, chewing a few pieces of gum per day is not harmful if the chemicals used in it or ignored. But if chewing 15 or more pieces of gum a day can be very detrimental to your health. Gum has been found to act as a substitute for food, tricking the brain into not being hungry, but not giving any nutritional value into a person’s diet. It can also lead to people not having enough calorie intake. For example, a study from the University of Rhode Island made people chew gum throughout the morning. The people with the gum ate 67% fewer calories at lunchtime, compared to their midday meals on a day when they didn’t chew gum. But, with all of this research, we still do not know whether chewing gum is detrimental to the human body.

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The Debate on Gum