Does Your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?

Here I sit, chomping away on my fourth piece of gum today, wondering how much is too much.

This is a new habit for me, part of my coping during dieting.  I am chewing sugar free gum, but even that has five calories per stick.  So I did some internet research and then some math.  Chewing gum burns a measly 11 calories per hour.  I am one of those people who only likes the gum as long as the flavor lasts, so some hours I will have many pieces.  It is a bit disheartening to confirm that I am actually adding calories to my total count with my new mastication fixation.

Why am I acting like a cow with her cud?  Several reasons:  chewing gum keeps me from snacking; the action seems to have some stress reducing benefit as I work out my frustrations with my jaw; and in the evenings it keeps me awake in the hours before bedtime when I find myself nodding off.   (Although I have come close to napping with the gum still in my mouth!)  I wonder if part of my current desire for gum is actually a craving for a sweet taste?  I don’t like that idea!

I have been experimenting with lots of brands and lots of flavors, searching for one that will hold the flavor long enough that I burn as many calories chewing as I ingest from the gum.  No such luck so far.  But I have found a couple favorites:  sweet watermelon, berry smoothie, strawberry citrus, and green apple/golden pineapple.  I obviously lean towards the strong fruity flavors.  No boring peppermint here!

Somehow this new habit feels like a weakness to me.  A gum crutch.  I don’t know why and I don’t know if I care… just saying.  I keep telling myself that I won’t buy another pack but then I do.  I know as far as addictions go, this is pretty insignificant and probably harmless.  It just seems like something I shouldn’t be doing.  And if it feels like I shouldn’t, than maybe I really shouldn’t.  If I hesitate to reach for that next stick, maybe I should be asking myself why.  Why chew so much and why not?

I know people who happily keep a piece of gum going for hours.  Maybe I would feel better about chewing if I wasn’t swapping out the sticks so often.  And I know several people who chew gum while they exercise; I think it keeps their mouths moist.  I don’t think I could keep my mouth closed while working out and I soooo hate hearing or seeing anyone’s gum.  Right up there on my pet peeve/fingernails-on-a-chalkboard list.  Maybe that is part of why I don’t like this constant chomp… that I have so often seen a woman chewing away and wondered if she knew how unattractive it made her look.  Like Sarah Jessica Parker in the Oscar’s audience.  Yep, she was.

So should I care?  Should I cut back or quit all together?  Does it matter?  And what about you… gum chewer or gum eschewer?

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18 Comments

Filed under dieting, emotions/emotional issues, food

18 responses to “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?

  1. What if, instead of thinking of it as a crutch, you think of it as a “bridge”? Something you won’t do forever, but as a useful tool to help you out until some of the baser instincts change for good. I used those 100-calorie snacks for just that purpose, and it worked well for me until I was ready to let them go in favor of more nutritious snacks or real-world treats in smaller doses. Maybe the gum could work the same way for you?

  2. I am a gum chewer too. Not all the time. Just to get me through the rough patches. The cravings, the hungry-but-it’s-almost-dinner times.

    The only reason I would hesitate about it is if it were really bad for my teeth. I grind my teeth badly. So I had to stop for a while when they were to sensitive and exposed.

    Since it’s not likely you have THAT problem, GO!

  3. Anna

    I do chew gum, mostly to avoid getting something sweet to eat after meals. I don’t do it too often because I have TMJ and it makes my jaw stiff the next day. And I’m with you… I love the fruity flavors!! 🙂

  4. Not a gum chewer any more. I use to be but I think it actually made me hungry!

    Now I have Invisalign braces and no gum chewing is allowed. I don’t miss it.

  5. I don’t think chewing gum is the worst thing you can do for your health. If it’s sugar free and you’re chewing it to keep from choosing unhealthy foods to it, then go for it. I actually miss chewing gum, but I have TMJ and my doctor told me that I absolutely had to give up gum. Somehow, sugar free, mini Altoids do not freshen my breath after a meal the way a piece of gum does…

  6. sunnydaze

    When I went to get a new cell phone last week there was a sales associate in there who was chewing gum like there was no tomorrow while she was waiting on the customers. She said that she was trying to quit smoking and kept getting a new stick. I was in there for like 30 minutes and she switched pieces like 3 times. Needless to say, she was on my nerves, LOL.

    I’m not really a chewer…only once in a while.

  7. AlaskaJoey

    It’s the TMJ sisterhood! For me, I only chew gum on planes, but not being able to eat bagels for 6 months after my diagnosis was TORTURE.

    I worry more about the state of your teeth, though -make sure you brush after every meal.

    I use water as my crutch to not eat sweets/extra snacks- I drink between 1 and 2 gallons a day depending on the time of year. Always more in the summer.

  8. I like the brand “5”. I find their flavors last the longest of any of them. However, I allow myself no more than 2 sticks a day. Same reason as your concerns, and also the knowledge that since they are sugar-free, the additives to make it sweet are still faking our body out, and causing the sugar cravings. Hate it, but it’s true. Better to work in some extra exercise. You have to limit yourself on those sticks of gum, sugar-free or not, every bit as much as everything else we consume that has calories. Yes, it can be a bridge on the path to health, but if you have lots of sticks a day, you are still needing a crutch. A food crutch. That’s what we all have to work on reducing, by finding other alternatives to soothe ourselves, other ways to fight boredom, etc. That said, you DO realize it’s probably not an ideal situation. Self-realization is always an important first step! 😀

  9. I’m not a gum chewer for the very reason that it loses it’s flavor way too quickly. I could pop mints all day though if I’m not careful.

    Chewing gum is whole lot better than overeating though.

    My husband swears my eclipse polar ice. He is a gum addict.

  10. losingmore

    chewing gum during exercise sounds like they are asking for a choking episode, if you ask me!

    I like stride. I think they boost that the flavor lasts the longest…I think it does. If you haven’t tried, give it a shot. they have fruity flavors too.

  11. No chewing gum here ever. 🙂

  12. I am as torn as your replies! BTW – I grind my teeth too!

    So I think I am going to try to limit myself to a couple of sticks a day and see what happens. Maybe that will be great. If not, I may try to just stop. While I know this is not a big deal, in the scheme of things, I suspect for me that Sunny might be right. (She usually is.)

    Thanks for all your great input. I am off to brush my teeth now, post-lunch, instead of popping in a piece.

  13. I gave up my gum and hard candy habit (and, let me tell you, it was getting to be addictive behavior around here!) about four months ago. I thought it was getting out of control and, really, all I wanted was to keep something in my mouth, which is just my food problem all over again. It’s been good, though I miss it. Now, if I really want some sweetness, it’s just some diet orange pop. No chewing, no TMJ!

  14. Please, please, please don’t take offense, but I’ve always thought chewing gum in public looks a tad tacky-i.e. Brittany Spears always seems to have a piece in her mouth. But for private times, if it helps you stay away from mindless eating, where is the harm?

  15. I chew a couple gums a day … the minty taste distracts me.

  16. Ha ha! Cute post. 🙂

    I also don’t care for gum when it loses it’s taste. I’ve migrated a bit away from gum lately. I used to be a HUGE gum chewer. I don’ t know what the tipping point was for me to stop chewing, it just kind of happened. I think I was so big into gum for awhile there because I used it to replace the cigarettes when I quit smoking.

    Anyway, when I do chew I hurt myself. It’s like I can’t concentrate on more than one thing and I inevitably bite my inner cheek or something.

  17. I allow myself a pack of gum a week… there are times when I have tons of gum lying around and then times… like now… that I have not a stick. But I use it while working to keep me from snacking. When I think about what I could be ingesting from the vending machine I’m good with my little treat. But I think about it as a crutch… sometimes you need that crutch so you don’t rely on the wheelchair and can move to the cane, right?
    So is your crutch helping you, or is it hindering you? And I didn’t mean to write a small book. * )

  18. Pingback: Waisting Time , Archive » Lessons from the Road

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