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Chewing gum and gastro distress
February 14, 2012 8:27 PM   Subscribe

Could 3 to 4 pieces of sugar-free Dentyne Fire gum per day be giving me occasional episodes of gas, bloating, and diarrhea? If so, what kind of sugar-free gum should I chew instead?

I have to chew gum kind of all the time because it's the only thing that relieves my intense first-trimester nausea and vomiting. I cut the pieces in half and so end up chewing about 3-4 pieces per day. But I'm finding that every other day or so, I have an intense episode of cramping, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. I really do need to keep chewing the gum, and it can't be sugar-sweetened because sugar makes me more nauseated.

First, is it really possible for that little gum to give me symptoms? Second, is there any other kind of sugar-free gum that would be better? Thanks in advance.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (20 answers total)
 
Dentyne Fire lists sorbitol as the first ingredient. My other half can't even have one piece of sorbitol sweetened gum without havin significant GI distress.

Trident uses xylitol, which causes no issues. Just keep it away from your dog.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:34 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yep, definitely. Sugar free cough drops and candies are gut bombs for me, even just one piece. I wasn't always this sensitive to sorbitol but a winter spent sucking on a few too many cough drops apparently broke my ability to deal.

I also recently learned the hard way that Sensodyne Original flavor toothpaste has sorbitol.
posted by jamaro at 8:56 PM on February 14, 2012


Nthing the intolerance for sorbitol, which I noticed after I binged on some sugar-free gum during a case of dry mouth. If you can have sugar in your gum, that's probably the safest thing for GI issues.
posted by mirepoix at 9:04 PM on February 14, 2012


Sorbitol, sorbitol. (A friend of mine once thought she had a baaaad two-day case of food poisoning. Not exactly what she thought, it was sorbitol poisoning. She had a serious hard-candy habit, decided to save herself some calories with sugar-free candy, ate the whole bag.)
posted by desuetude at 9:04 PM on February 14, 2012


Nthing sorbitol can be a monstrous thing. Let us never speak of the incident with the giant bag of sugar free gummy bears from Amazon. Horror movie stuff, right there.
posted by mostlymartha at 9:13 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yep, probably sorbitol. Won't go into details.
posted by annsunny at 9:31 PM on February 14, 2012


Another vote for sorbitol, since it's a laxative.
posted by oxfordcomma at 9:44 PM on February 14, 2012


Yes on all levels. I credit my obsessive gum chewing with a good deal of my stomach problems.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:48 PM on February 14, 2012


Took me a while to realize that sorbitol and I don't get along. Xylitol inhibits cavities; make the switch.
posted by theora55 at 10:03 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sorbitol is the most common artificial sweetener in sugar-free gum, mints and other types of candy. As examples, sugar-free varieties of Extra, Eclipse, Orbit and Dentyne gums contain sorbitol, often listed as the first ingredient.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:17 PM on February 14, 2012


Just a fun fact, i remember aa Dr. house episode where a guy that quite smoking had diarreah all the time, and it was due yo his sugar free nicotine gum. :)

Apparently sorbitol is a laxative. :)
posted by NotSoSiniSter at 10:17 PM on February 14, 2012


IANAD, but maybe try another gum with a different sweetener and see if your GI tract can handle it. Hell, try the non sugar free Dentyne, maybe that wont irritate your bowels so much.

Or try those oh so addictive cinnamon Altoids. It's like they thought by coloring it red, I wouldn't be able to tell that it was crack.
posted by Sphinx at 10:59 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Trident uses sorbitol and only a bit of xylitol. I've found Epic gum uses only xylitol, and I believe Spry is also sorbitol-free. Both of those are usually easy to find at any "natural foods" store. You will find any pure xylitol gum loses its flavor a bit quick and tends to lose size and becomes tougher to chew a lot faster than most gum. Still, I could tear through quite a bit of xylitol gum with no ill effects whatsoever. Do mention to your doctor what happened though, intense diarrhea every other day is nothing to overlook.
posted by Saydur at 12:02 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


And I was just about to ask a similar question myself.

I shouldn't have chewed those mere two pieces of gum yesterday, is all I'm going to say. I always was opposed to gum-chewing as I considered it a regression to childhood. How far back into childhood, is something they should really warn you about more forcefully on the package.
posted by tel3path at 5:25 AM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh, thanks for asking this. I chew Dentyne fire all the time without any problems but it's good to be aware of the potential issues.
posted by empyrean at 5:48 AM on February 15, 2012


So . . . how much of a concern is sorbitol in toothpaste? Could it be an explanation for mystery GI issues, or can it be ruled out since it isn't swallowed?
posted by stopgap at 5:56 AM on February 15, 2012


Sorbitol, sorbitol. (A friend of mine once thought she had a baaaad two-day case of food poisoning. Not exactly what she thought, it was sorbitol poisoning. She had a serious hard-candy habit, decided to save herself some calories with sugar-free candy, ate the whole bag.)

Ugh. I've made that mistake.

Oddly though gum doesn't give me the same problem even if i go through a whole pack. I will not touch sugar-free candies though.
posted by fromageball at 6:00 AM on February 15, 2012


Be careful with "100% Natural" True Lemon, True Orange, etc. drink mixes. The ingredients are described as "naturally sweet," but the rebiana (stevia) has the same GI effect on me as sorbitol.
posted by Carol Anne at 6:54 AM on February 15, 2012


Another gum that uses xylitol instead of sorbitol is Ice Breakers Ice Cubes, in case you don't have a natural food store around. I can't always find them in grocery stores, and haven't seen normal packs with 10-12 cubes in years, but the large "cups" with 40 or so pieces can usually be found in Target or drugstores like CVS.
posted by trivia genius at 8:22 AM on February 15, 2012


> Be careful with "100% Natural" True Lemon, True Orange, etc. drink mixes. The ingredients are described as "naturally sweet," but the rebiana (stevia) has the same GI effect on me as sorbitol.

Seconding to be careful of stevia! It does indeed affect some people similarly to sorbitol. (Not me, actually, but several close friends have gotten ambushed by herbal teas sweetened with stevia.)
posted by desuetude at 9:34 PM on February 15, 2012


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