Thursday, July 18, 2013

About Gum

About Gum

Chewing gum has been a part of human history since almost the beginning of time. It seems humans have always wanted to chew on something. Americans can now choose from over 1,000 types of gum sold in stores across the country. People have fallen in love with this treat, and people even collect gum wrappers to show their devotion to chewing gum! Add this to my Recipe Box.

History of

Chewing gum has been around since the time of the ancient Greeks. Early chewing gums, like those used by the Greeks, Mayans, and Native Americans, were made from sap and tree resin. The Early American settlers continued this habit. Chewing gum hit the retail market when John B. Curtis sold it commercially for the first time in 1848. He introduced flavored paraffin gums two years later. William Finley Semple patented gum in 1869, and the rest is history.


While ancient people could technically be credited with the invention of chewing gum, the gum that we enjoy today can be traced to an inventor named Thomas Adams. Before Adams came on the scene, people were chewing spruce and paraffin gums. He originally tried to use sapodilla sap, known as chicle, to make rubber, but this was unsuccessful. Instead, he invented the first chicle-based gum when he decided to chew a piece of chicle in 1869. This gum carried flavors well and lasted longer when chewed than the other gum bases, and this became the popular choice for chewing gum bases until synthetic materials became more popular in modern chewing gum history.

The Facts

The foundation of today's chewing gum is a base that does not dissolve in your mouth. Some gums still use chicle as a base, but because it is so expensive many gum manufacturers have turned to synthetic rubber bases. The base is mixed with sugar or artificial sweeteners and flavors. The rubber or chicle releases these flavors when you chew the gum. This recipe obviously works, because the average American will chew around 300 pieces of gum annually.


Chewing gum comes in many varieties. Most people choose their chewing gum based on the flavor. Gum comes in many flavors, usually fruit or mint based. Bubble gum is another popular type of chewing gum, and it has special film-forming properties that allow the chewer to blow bubbles. Gumballs are brightly colored balls of chewing gum commonly sold in vending machines. Functional gums are gums that deliver some health benefit to the chewer, such as a gum that also contains beneficial herbs. Medicated gums will deliver medication to the body in place of pills.


How many times have you heard, "If you swallow your gum, it will stay in your stomach for seven years"? This is one of the most common misconceptions about chewing gum. All of the ingredients in most gums can be broken down by the digestive system. It will leave your body quickly if you do swallow it. Another common misconception about gum is that it is bad for your teeth. Gum, as long as it is not full of sugar, is actually good for your teeth and can help fight tooth decay when chewed after meals.


Besides being a tasty treat, chewing gum actually benefits the chewer. Studies have shown that people who chew gum are able to concentrate better on their work. It can make you feel more alert and ease your tension. Of course, gum freshens breath, but it also helps fight tooth decay by stimulating saliva production. Gum can help you curb the urge to snack between meals, and since gum does not contain many calories, this can help you with your diet goals.

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