Once you develop habits throughout your life, it’s kind of hard to break them — despite how destructive they may be.
Let me tell you about my chewing gum phase.
I blame this obsession on America, where I first discovered these amazing sugar-free, long-lasting flavoured gum varieties.
For years I chewed gum excessively, and it became a bit of a nuisance on my health.
A lot of people use gum as a stress reliever, and also a hunger zapper.
I used this strategy for far too long. So long in fact, that the habit took over me completely!
Research says gum isn’t going to kill you but does it play a role in diminishing our weight loss potential if we chew it?
These little obsessive critters contain a few hectic ingredients that you should be aware of.
It’s important for the sake of your health, to know exactly what you put in your mouth:
Gum: This is non-digestible and rubbery
Resin: Holds the rubbery stuff together
Fillers: Calcium carbonate or talc, for texture
Preservatives: Extends shelf life. It’s usually called butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Softeners: Stops the gum turning it into a rock. The ingredients are paraffin or vegetable oils.
Sweeteners: Sugar-free gums use sugar alcohols like xylitol or artificial sweeteners like aspartame.
Flavourings: Can be natural or synthetic.
Aspartame — Weight loss friend or foe
The main ingredient I’d like to talk about is called Aspartame. It’s been claimed to cause a whole lot of problems like headaches, obesity and cancer. This sweetener is also found in soft drinks, any kinds of sugarless candy, fruit juice and probably in a lot of sugar-free foods on the supermarket shelves. Although there is no real evidence to claim the theory above, what needs to be considered is the unnatural ingredients that are apparent in all of these artificially made products. Having small amounts of them are considered “ok” but do we really know what damage will be caused 5–10 years down the track? Is it worth the risk?You can be the judge of that one. But what about fat loss then? Well, the truth is that aspartame can adversely affect gut microbial activity, which not only plays havoc on your weight loss goals but also your health.
A study conducted at the Technological University in Singapore tested the toxicity of aspartame. Even just 1 milligram of the stuff can make the bacteria in the digestive system become toxic. That small amount could be a piece of gum you chew during the day, a can of diet soda and maybe a packet of sugar-free candy. If you add up all of these, imagine how easy it is to destroy your gut bacteria — even before you know what’s going on? So, if this single artificial sweetener can destroy our gut bacteria, then it most definitely would interfere with our weight loss and health goals.
I had experienced something very similar to this. My own gut bacteria have developed an overgrowth of candida, which explains all the digestive issues that have plagued me for years. In this instance, I had to give up the gum chewing for good. It was doing my digestion a lot of harm, and I trained myself to calm moments of emotional distress and hunger in other ways, rather than chewing. Did this one thing solve the problem for me? Unfortunately not, as the road to gut health is a long and hard one. Once it’s destroyed, it can take many years of patient recuperation to get it back. Now, imagine chewing gum with all of its foreign ingredients — on an empty stomach. It doesn’t look too crash hot for our healthy gut bugs.Your best option is to leave the chewing gum in any instances, alone. Pick something else that will give you a fix. Your alternative needs to be something that is both empowering and also creative. Perhaps drinking warm tea or hot water with fruits (I know it’s boring, but at least it’s not toxic). Whatever it is, use it as leverage during those times when you do need a distraction. Sometimes we don’t read into everything as deeply as we should — we can all become guilty of this once in a while. But my warning is not to use anything as a weight loss aid. Your one and truly successful weight loss aid, and the only thing that can get your health back on track is — FOOD.
We simply can’t trick our bodies with false ingredients — it just doesn’t work. If you are hungry then eat, if you are full then stop. Allow your own natural body rhythms to lead you towards the right time in doing either of these. Trust that your body knows what it needs, and it will signal you to pay attention when the time is right.