Monday, May 26, 2008

The Legend of Chewing Gum

I went to the new Indiana Jones flick today, so what better way to celebrate than to write about a legend, albeit one not nearly as exciting as Indy!

We've all heard the claim that gum will take seven years to digest if swallowed, and undoubtedly, we have all "accidentally" swallowed a piece of gum. (Sidenote: I wonder if this is the same seven years of bad luck I'm supposed to have when I break a mirror?!)

Unlike food, one can chomp on a piece of gum for hours, and it never gets any smaller. And since we know we're not supposed to swallow it, imagination kicks in, and a reason is invented to keep us from swallowing this non-food substance. We are warned, "It will stay in your system for seven years!"

This, my friends, is only a legend with no basis in fact.

Luckily for us, it doesn't take seven years (as lots of myths have it). In fact, our stomach doesn't digest gum at all! Since it's made out of soluble fiber, chewing gum passes right through us. So gum comes out with the rest of your waste, usually a day or two after you eat it. One more legend proven false. What's the world coming to?

Here's a source you can check for info, and if you're really into specifics of what actually happens to gum in the digestive system, you can check this source.

And don't forget to check out the other writers at Writer's Island!


  1. But its true if you swallow a watermellon seed one will grow in your tummy....right?

  2. that I think of it, I heard the myth but never really cared just how long it stayed in there after I swallowed it...

  3. I was thinking that's what the extra ten pounds must be but I guess not. ;)


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