Saturday, June 10, 2006

Is Swallowing Gum As Bad As Everyone Says?

As I child, I swallowed gum several times either because I was too lazy to throw it away, or because I had to quickly dispose of the evidence during school. My mother and friends would tell me that the gum that I had swallowed would remain in my stomach for months, if not years, before it would fully pass through my system.

Though it is true that gum is difficult to break down within the digestive system (in fact, it does not break down at all), it does not effect the ability or speed of the gum to excrete from the body. Why did this myth about gum come to be? A theory posited by states that because one can chew gum for hours without it becoming any smaller and has no nutritional value, people invented a reason to explain why they must dispose of gum after the flavor dies.

Have you ever heard of this urban legend? If so, why do you think that it was invented?'/chewgum.asp


Blogger Khalil said...

Andrea- it is common knowledge that if you swallow gum it will not digest for 7 years. I also remember hearing this warning not to swallow gum when I was a kid. and of course I would do it anyway. Like you said, sometimes it was just more convenient and sometimes it was to get rid of the evidence.

My theory behind the myth was that it was precisley a way for grown ups to try to deter you from sneaking gum where you weren't supposed to. If you had no way to get rid of it without being seen, you might not do it.

I will answer your tougher question about swimming after eating later.

3:25 PM  

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