triathlon and family can mix

Spit It Out

Gum, never gave it much thought, until yesterday.

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Having been Paleo for the better part of half a year now, myself and my family have been focused on the types of food we eat. We eat mostly organic produce, purchase organic grass fed or free run meat when we can find it, and avoid artificial sugar and colouring.

So as I chewed a piece of gum, one of several that day, I thought “How is it still in one piece and not dissolved in my mouth?” I went looking.

Any nutrionalist will tell you to avoid any food which lists an ingredient that you cannot pronounce. I read the back of my package. Holy crap.

After doing some research, I calmed down a little bit. As I found out, there is at least three different artifical sweeteners, various compunds to create the texture and several preservatives in the ingredient list.

The artifical sweeteners are the easiest to deal with. They are well known and listed right on the front of the package. I know the issues surrounding them, and have chosen to avoid them in my lifestyle, along with the lifestyle of my family.

The one ingredient I have an issue with in the Gum Base; pretty vague? It is.

Providing the familiar texture of a piece of chewing gum, gum base is a combination of polymers (rubber), waxes, resisns, and preservatives. Here is a run down of the ingredients as far as I could dig up online.

Resins – Provides strength, probably why the gum didn’t disolve in my mouth. One resin used is Polyvinyl acetate, the most common additive in white or wood glue.
Emulsifiers – Typically Soy Lecithin, it is extracted chemically from soy beans by using hexane, help hydrate.
Fillers – Adding texture, Talc is used in acid base gum flavors. When my daughter was a baby, we avoided talc powder as is was harmful if ingested. Yeah, ingested.
Antioxidants – Used to extend shelf life, Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) has been linked to hyperactivity in children.

My next step was to head to my local natural food store, surely there would carry a gum with all-natural ingredients. Alas, all-natural does not mean gum base free. Even an Internet search turned up the all too familiar gum base ingredient.

So not to fear monger, we have decided to throw out our remaining gum packages in the house.

Question: What are your thoughts toward chewing gum? Have you done the same?

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