What kind of gum will keep both my mouth and my tummy happy?
May 31, 2014 5:56 PM   Subscribe

I like to chew sugarless gum on occasion to keep from mindlessly snacking. My GI system would prefer that I don't, and gives me gas and some...other stuff. Is there a brand of gum that causes fewer GI symptoms? Another gum-like substance that can occupy my mouth for a few hours now and then?
posted by genmonster to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How about flavored toothpicks? All the chewing/playing, none of the actual contents.
posted by brainmouse at 6:14 PM on May 31, 2014

Gum causes increased gas for two reasons: you swallow air due to the chewing action, and any kind of sweetener will cause increased gas production (both artificial and real sugar).

You can start by trying gums with different kinds of sweeteners -- you might be sensitive to just one of them. I have lots of GI problems but have never noticed an issue with xylitol sweetened gum like Trident, anecdotally.

If all varieties of gum still cause increased gas, it's probably because of the air swallowing. That's a tougher one because pretty much any chewing-similar activity (eating included) is going to lead to air swallowing. However, since you reference "other stuff" issues, my bet is on the sweetener.
posted by telegraph at 6:20 PM on May 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can you narrow down what sweetener is in the gum that is giving you issues? I am the exact opposite of Telegraph above, Xylitol is the culprit for me. Try identifying the sweetener and then move to another brand, perhaps the process of elimination will yield one that works for you and your intestines.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 6:23 PM on May 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's hard to find, and expensive when you do, but my preferred sugarless foodstuff that keeps me from snacking are Lakerol Cassis pastilles. There might be other things in the same family that you'd prefer.
posted by PussKillian at 6:34 PM on May 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's a well known fact that traditional sugarless gum (with evil artificial sugar) causes major gas for many. I enjoy Pur gum, which has none of these side effects. YMMV.
posted by Go Banana at 9:12 PM on May 31, 2014

I used to chew these licorice sticks when I lived in Italy. Might work for you.
posted by Dagobert at 12:02 AM on June 1, 2014

My nutritionist said that sugar alcohols (apparently they usually end in "-ol") often cause gas problems for people. She advised gum/mints with actual sugar. Sure, a fraction more calories etc but quite possibly worth it. I won't recommend a specific brand since we are in different countries, but that could be something to look out for in case it makes a difference.
posted by Athanassiel at 3:23 AM on June 1, 2014

While my suggestion is not a gum or sugarless candy, I had a similar gut (one that caused me a lot of trouble) for a long time and chewing gum did not seem to help -- I believe that this is because it led to me to swallowing air that would then want out of said gut.

What used to, and what continue to, work for me are Gin Gins, slightly chewy hard candies (caramels, in a technical sense) that are 1/3 ginger. One typically sees these marketed to the pregnant and those with motion-related upset stomachs, and prices vary, but through Amazon one can get one pound at $15 or eleven pounds at $46.41, both of which are well below the retail Whole Foods (or wherever) price. As they're individually packaged in foil their shelf life may be damn near forever.

Although these do not take long to chew they have a very strong ginger flavor, and one does not have to eat very many to experience what strikes me, at least, as a full snacking experience.
posted by mr. digits at 5:18 AM on June 1, 2014

If you can handle something that isn't sweet or flavored, Glee Gum sells unflavored gum base pellets by the pound. You could also make your own gum using nutrasweet as the sweetener, which doesn't have the same gut effects for most people as sugar alcohols like xylitol.
posted by KathrynT at 9:54 AM on June 1, 2014

Another sugar alcohol that could be the problem is sorbitol. I know this from personal experience. Spry gum doesn't give me problems, but is sweetened with xylitol. Of course, that can cause problems too. Depends how your body reacts. I think the spry gum lacks in the texture area, but I can live with it.

Trial and error is probably the way to go
posted by annsunny at 3:53 PM on June 1, 2014

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