What really happens when you swallow a chewing gum

Published: June 21, 2016
Mystery solved.

Mystery solved.

As kids, we were told that swallowing a seed means you will grow a plant in your stomach and gulping a gum means that it stays in your system for years.

But, that is not true. Science has a theory to put your childhood worries to rest. So what actually happens when you swallow a gum?

The gum won’t stick to the wall of intestines. PHOTO: WORDPRESS

Buzzfeed Health reached out to health gastroenterologist Dr Lisa Ganjhu who says, “Your GI tract is very strong — if it can digest a tough steak, it can digest gum.”

“So you have the strong gastric movements and the acids and enzymes to break the gum down. The only difference is that the base of gum doesn’t get dissolved completely because of its chemical properties, and also the contents don’t get absorbed into the small intestine like most foods.”

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“Once it’s in, it’ll go out like everything else. There is no specific time frame because everyone’s digestive system motility is different,” Dr Ganjhu added.

Myths on swallowing chewing gum have existed for decades. PHOTO: BERKLEYWELLNESS

The gum won’t stick to the wall of intestines. The only thing you’d have to worry about ‘getting stuck’ is if the piece of chewing gum is massive enough to clog the opening of your stomach. But you probably won’t be able to swallow a wad that big in the first place.

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However, most importantly, “Chewing gum has absolutely no nutritional value so most health professionals would advise against swallowing it,” Dr Ganjhu said.

So spit it out, guys.


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