You may have heard of the myth, ‘It takes 7 years for gum to digest in our bodies.’ If you believe this myth, fortunately, it’s not true. The origin of this myth is unknown at this time, but has fooled many for years. Studies show that people empty their stomachs every 30 to 120 minutes. Though this myth is somewhat true, it’s still digestible. Let me tell you how.
Modern chewing gum is made up of rubber like materials. Depending on the type of gum you’re chewing, it could be made up of vinyl resins or micro crystalline waxes. That’s exactly why it doesn’t break down in our mouths like regular food. If you swallow gum, your stomach digests it normally. What you may not know is, by swallowing gum you are actually adding fat to your stomach. Since we can’t break down gum like edible food, the enzymes in your stomach try its hardest to decompose the gum.
Studies show that gum doesn’t take 7 years to digest, but that doesn’t mean you can swallow it all the time. If you swallow a large amount of gum, it could cause a blockage in your digestive tract. The possible effects that could happen is constipation, abdominal pain, and or vomiting. If these symptoms happen, you may have to get the gum surgically removed. Do not fear though, most of the time gum travels smoothly down your digestive system.
It is uncommon for people to swallow gum on command. Most people swallow gum with some kinda of liquid. For example, most people don’t swallow pills on command without water. Though, most of us can swallow pills with water on command, that’s not the case with gum. Most of the time when people swallow gum with some kind of liquid, it’s mostly on accident.
All in all, gum doesn’t take 7 years to digest. Most of the time, it digests in 24-48 hours. So, don’t worry if you swallow gum on accident. Just don’t do it every time you chew some, that could be very bad for your insides.
Jaeda Sandifer, Marian Catholic High School