It is an idea that only comes to mind when we are children. But what would happen if we suddenly accidentally or accidentally swallowed gum one day?
It may seem like an idea out of the mind of a child, but who has not ever thought to swallow the gum that is chewing non-stop? Boredom can wreak havoc on the population, and this is one of them, although perhaps the least; in fact, the outcome looks better than if you decide to swallow a lot of Mentos candy and then drink Coca-Cola.
Whatever it is you are tempted to put in your mouth, be careful – by accident or omission, gum can end up in your stomach at any time. And judging by how long they take to disintegrate and retreat from the pavement when people throw them on the ground (those little black pegot are a classic sight on any Spanish sidewalk), you are probably wondering, and with good reason, what they could do to your stomach and therefore your body in case you like its taste so much that you cannot resist swallowing it.
“Our bodies do not have digestive enzymes to break down chewing gum”
For all these reasons, what would happen if you did so? How long would it take to be digested by the stomach? What are the symptoms that you would notice right after? Could you keep going to the bathroom regularly? The magazine ‘Eat This Not That’ (whose title comes amusingly ‘to the hair’) has collected these questions and posed them to a series of experts to know in depth what would happen if you swallowed this sweet only made for chew.
Does not dissolve
As with any other food, the stomach goes to work and digests the gum . But not all its components. “The chewing gum base does not dissolve, like some vegetables if we eat them raw, such as corn,” explains Nancy McGreal , gastroenteologist at Duke University Health. “Our bodies do not have digestive enzymes to break down these specific types of foods.”
“It will pass through the digestive tract slower than most foods, but over time it will go out without problems”
In normal digestion, enzymes break down carbohydrates into glucose, proteins into amino acids, and fats into fatty acids. Throughout the digestive tract, the different bacteria will collect the nutrients and begin to transport them through the blood. It is when the insulin hormone goes to work to digest all the glucose, amino acids and fatty acids and carry it to the muscles or tissues to burn it as energy or store it as fat.
What about the gum? While the body can digest the high amount of preservatives, sugar, and sweeteners, chewing gum cannot dissolve . In that case, it will clump into the remains of the stomach and move through your intestines until you throw it out, just as it came in. But no, the assumption that it can stick to the stomach or intestinal walls is false, since the stomach secretes corrosive acids for digestion that prevent it from sticking to the surface of the organ and staying there. Only very rarely can it cause an intestinal blockage. “It is a very isolated case, but if too much gum is ingested it can cause constipation, especially in children”, says Elizabeth Rajan,from the Mayo Clinic. “It is for this reason that children should be discouraged and prohibited from eating gum and swallowing it.”
In fact, there is a very curious scientific article published in the journal ‘ Pediatrics ‘ in 1998 documenting the case of a boy who ate more than seven gum every day. What happened? He was reporting constipation problems for more than two years and finally had to undergo surgery to unblock such a blockage. Obviously, this is a very isolated case, but it still attests to what would happen if by accident or omission your young child swallows all the gum they chew.
How long does it take to leave your body? According to experts from Yale University, between 40 hours and seven days. “Gum is quite immune to the digestive process,” acknowledges David Milov, a pediatric gastroenteologist at a children’s clinic in Orlando, Florida. “It will probably go slower than most foods, but over time the substances that clean the digestive tract will push it out without discomfort.” Of course, if you have a fondness for swallowing this chewing ball, it goes without saying that you expose yourself to all kinds of stomach ailments: diarrhea, constipation or nausea.they can become frequent if you include chewing gum in your diet. But fortunately, that does not have to happen, and the most likely fact is that the fact only comes to you in the form of a childhood memory.