Chewing Gum Digests Within a Few Days

November 1, 2010 at 1:00 am 4 comments

By Chad Upton | Editor

An old wives tale states that gum stays in your stomach for up to  seven years, but that is far from the truth.

Although it’s pretty sticky between your fingers, a single piece of gum doesn’t present a great challenge to your digestive enzymes — gum generally moves through your digestive system pretty quickly.

Food digests in as little as a few hours, and although gum can move at the same speed, it is sometimes slower than normal food, and it passes through our digestive system within a few days at the most.

The confusion comes from the fact that gum cannot be broken down. It’s the same as small coins, they cannot be broken down but they usually pass through within a couple of days. That earns gum the designation of “indigestible”, but that doesn’t mean it won’t pass through the digestive system, it just means it can’t be broken down into smaller pieces. I guess it goes in the same category as corn.

That means habitual swallowers can suffer from blockages and constipation if a large amount of gum builds up, especially children who swallow gum frequently. But, a single piece of gum usually passes without a problem.

Broken Secrets

Subscribe on: Facebook | Twitter | Email | Kindle

Sources: Scientific American, Snopes, How Stuff Works

Entry filed under: Despite Popular Belief, Food and Drink, Health and Beauty. Tags: , , , .

How to be a Halloween Scrooge The Meaning of the PlayStation Button Symbols

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Polly  |  November 4, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I’m so relieved!
    Adults perpetrate so many myths on children.
    I’ve been hoping you could do an article on toilet repair…how to adjust the float level and keep the tank from running and making irritating noises..

  • 2. John  |  November 9, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I was cured of swallowing gum when I reached puberty and developed hair where there was none before. As the gum exits your body it can get “in your hair” big time. Not worth it, believe me.

  • 3. John  |  November 9, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    If your toilet is running, it’s not the fault of the float, unless the float is adjusted so that it allows the water in the tank to get high enough to go into the overflow pipe. In which case you can adjust the float by squeezing the little metal clip that sets the float height and slide the float up a bit so it shuts off the water sooner. On old toilets you’d bend the float arm to point the float more downward. More likely the flapper – the plug – in the bottom of your tank is leaking and allowing water to do down. It could be the flapper itself or it could be the seat it fits into when closed. You’d have to turn off the water, flush to empty the tank and then observe where the water goes when you allow it to flow back into the tank slowly. Good luck. P.S. The water in your tank is clean, although I guess I wouldn’t advise drinking it.

  • 4. John  |  November 9, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Opps, slide float down not up to shut water sooner.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Follow Broken Secrets

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,363 other subscribers

Big Awards

Best Personal Blog/Website (People's Voice)

W3 Award - Copy Writing


Featured by…

• Yahoo
• Business Insider
• Smithsonian Magazine
• USA Today
• AskMen (and many more...)

Contact Info

%d bloggers like this: