Posts tagged ‘stomach’

Chewing Gum Digests Within a Few Days

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

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Sources: Scientific American, Snopes, How Stuff Works

November 1, 2010 at 1:00 am 4 comments


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