You May Also Like

This is how often to replace loofah—hint: often

Clean or replace your loofah *this* often because it’s a straight-up bacteria playground

How to dispose of contact lenses for environment

In the crusade to save the oceans, contact lenses are about to be the next plastic straw

Acids for skin care

Move over, collagen—there’s a buzzy new skin-care supplement in town

Healthy frozen meals? Trader Joe's cauli bowl

Stock up on this new vegan cauliflower bowl from Trader Joe’s for easy workday lunches

Low carb diets linked to shorter life span

Pass the pasta: A super-low-carb diet is linked to a shortened life span

cutting sugar

6 tips for cutting back on sugar—including when you really want that donut

Is chewing gum actually bad for you?

Thumbnail for Is chewing gum actually bad for you?
Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Jovo Jovanovic

There are certain things that you know might cause you to feel some bloat later. Dairy? Sure. Beer? Definitely. But a stick of gum? According to a new study, a popular additive found in bread, candy, and, yes, gum has been linked to a host of gut-health issues.

The alleged culprit: titanium dioxide, which is used to make food look, well, prettier—it works as a brightener, similar to your favorite highlighter. But researchers at Binghamton University in New York found that it can keep nutrients from being absorbed effectively in your digestive tract, and can increase inflammation at the same time.

So popping a stick of gum in your mouth after eating a delicious salad may get rid of your kale breath, but if it’s a regular habit, it might undermine some of the good-for-you benefits.

“Don’t worry, it won’t kill you! But we were interested in the subtle effects, and we think people should know about them.”

In the study, participants who ate foods with titanium dioxide for five days straight (three meals a day) began to have changes in the structure of their small intestine’s surface cells—called microvilli. The microvilli lost some of their absorptive power, making nutrients like iron, zinc, and fatty acids more difficult to be ingested and used in the body. In addition, the intestinal barrier weakened, and metabolism slowed.

Just to be clear, though: The additive—which is in a lot of personal care products as well, everything from toothpaste to sunscreen—is considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration. (And the Environmental Working Group puts the ingredient in the “good” range.)

“Don’t worry, it won’t kill you!” says Binghamton assistant professor Gretchen Mahler, one of the authors of the study. “But we were interested in some of the subtle effects, and we think people should know about them.”

The takeaway: If you’re sleuthing the cause of your tummy troubles, cutting the amount of titanium dioxide you take in might help you get things moving at a healthy pace again. But don’t get it twisted—it’s nothing to obsess over; in fact, the sugar in your gum is doing way more damage than this ingredient ever will. (And by the way, if you’re ready to kick that habit, here’s our handy guide.)

Of course chewing gum isn’t the only sneaky cause of bloating. Check out what else to avoid before seeing what inflammation-fighting foods to fill up on instead.

Get Started

Facebook end slide

Follow us!

Loading More Posts...

You May Also Like

Everything to know about monstera plant care

Monstera hysteria has broken out on Pinterest, but what on earth is the thing?

Jillian Michaels afternoon slump

Jillian Michaels has never experienced the 4 p.m. slump—here’s why

Single-pan roasted butternut squash recipe

Squash your side-dish-prepping woes with this one-pan butternut creation

Candice Kumai fro-yo recipe

Turn your fro-yo into a beauty boosting dessert with Candice Kumai’s 3-ingredient recipe

Acids for skin care

Move over, collagen—there’s a buzzy new skin-care supplement in town

holistic nutritionists

Where to find a holistic nutritionist in NYC to help achieve your healthy eating goals