How many calories in gum do you ingest from chewing it?
November 2, 2004 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Any food scientists out there? I have a bag of Double Bubble bubble gum left over from Halloween. Each piece of gum has 19 calories. How many of those calories am I actually consuming when I chew a piece? (It makes sense to me that I'd actually have to swallow the gum to have consumed all 19 calories, but maybe I'm wrong...)
posted by jdroth to Food & Drink (6 answers total)

if that helps at all : >
posted by amberglow at 12:34 PM on November 2, 2004

Best answer: Not a food scientist specifically, but I do have a biochemistry degree. I expect that all the calories are from sugar, and sugar is highly water-soluble. It dissolves in your saliva, which you subsequently swallow at some point. So I'd say the entire 19 calories. As support for this, note how the gum is sweet when you first begin to chew it, but then not at all sweet after you've been chewing it for a while.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:36 PM on November 2, 2004

The Nutrition Facts present a pretty skewed picture of calories. IIRC, even though all proteins and fats are not alike, I believe that calories are assigned on the basis of 3 calories per each calculated gram of protein or carbohydrate, and 9 calories per calculated gram of fat. These are averages; I've been taught that the actual calorie-per-gram of carbs is probably closer to 4.

Other substances, including gum base and alcohol, are not included in this figure. For the gum that's relevant because you'd get a lot more calories by burning it in a bomb calorimeter than the nutrition facts indicate. For something like Guinness, it's also relevant because the 125 calorie rating doesn't take alcohol calories (7 per gram) into account.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:01 PM on November 2, 2004

Most of the websites I've come across seem to say 4 calories per gramme of both carbs and proteins.
posted by biffa at 2:31 PM on November 2, 2004

4 kcal/g for carbohydrates (including the sugar they put in the gum) is standard. the gum itself is probably totally indigestible, and therefore doesn't represent any significant caloric contribution (but you probably won't be eating it anyway, so i doubt anyone would bother including this in nutrition facts).

i'd say it's a safe bet that the calorie count on the gum's nutrition facts label only reflects the sugar added to the gum (as it well should... the rest of the stuff is probably insignificant, relatively speaking) and if you chew the gum until it's not sweet anymore, you've consumed all of those 19 calories.
posted by rxrfrx at 3:15 PM on November 2, 2004

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