Noun Challenge: July 21, 2014
Today’s noun: Gum
Everyone I know chews gum. I don’t. “What? Why?” Because its not really all that good for you! I’m no health freak, but gum really isn’t worth it. Clearly, chewing gum isn’t the worst thing for you, but it is something that I consistently turn down.
Chewing gum is full of artificial ingredients and other chemicals that are bad for you. Yes, I know that literally everything is made of chemicals, but some of them are worse than others.
Okay, let me start with some “facts” about gum. Chewing gum helps clean your teeth. Sure, it might pull some tiny bits of food off of your teeth, but all that sugar? Gum has a pretty good about of sugar in it. Most dentists say that if you want to chew gum to clean your teeth after a meal, you should use sugar-free gum to avoid all those extra sugars. Still, a toothbrush and toothpaste are your best bet for fighting cavities.
It is also said that chewing gum can help you lose weight, or kick an addiction. Chewing gum between meals keeps you from wanting to snack on junk food. It can also be used to replace that giant bowl of ice cream you’ve been craving. Similarly, gum is a much healthier replacement for that cigarette you’re just dying to get. Of course, experts will say that sugar-free gum is a better option because, well, no sugar.
So what’s so terrible about sugar-free gum?
Well, the same thing that is so terrible with anything that says “diet” or “sugar-free” on the label. These products contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame. I’m sure you’ve heard of this. You should have, it’s in nearly every pack of gum that you buy, and every diet soda you drink. It’s terrible for you!
Aspartame is actually worse for you than sugar. It went through 15 years of disapproval by the FDA, not that the FDA always makes good decisions, But scientists mostly agreed that the substance was not safe enough to put in foods. It was eventually approved by political means, rather than scientific.
I’ll try not to get all science-y on you, but aspartame is known to over-stimulate brain cells until they die, cause joint and muscle pain (or worsen it if you already experience it), cause depression (or worsening if you are already depressed for another reason), cause headaches or migraines, insomnia, vision and hearing problems, heart and respiratory difficulties, etc.
You’re probably thinking that this sounds a lot like the warning on medication commercials, and the chances of anything happening are one in a million. Well, let me tell you a story. A few years ago, I was “addicted” to sugar-free red bull. I was drinking 2-3 a day, if not more. I was having join pains (I was 13, by the way), I was depressed, I had head aches almost every day, I couldn’t get to sleep at night, an I just didn’t feel quite right. It was suggested to me that I cut aspartame, and other artificial sweeteners completely out of my diet. So I did. The first day without aspartame, I could already see a difference. A few days without it and I wasn’t as depressed, I was sleeping better, I hadn’t had a headache, and I felt like I had the body of a 13 year old again.
It’s now been about 6 or 7 years without aspartame and I feel great. If I do, by chance, eat something with aspartame, I know within minutes because my mood changes and I feel ‘off’. I know other people who have also cut aspartame from their diet, and they have similar results. I suggest you give it a try and see how you feel.
So anyway, back to gum. If you look at just about any gum package, you’ll probably see aspartame listed as an ingredient. Don’t buy it. Same with diet sodas or anything else labeled as ‘diet’ or ‘sugar-free’. It’s all bad for you.
If you chew gum for weight loss, or as a substitute for brushing your teeth, ask yourself if its really worth it to ingest all of those chemicals. Like I said in the beginning of this post, I’m no health nut, I just feel that aspartame should have never been approved.
Long story short, gum is evil.
As always, I apologize for typos and the like.
Have a delightful day and I’ll see you tomorrow!