Week of February 26, 2023

Chew on These Facts


Gum is old. In what is now Sweden, chewed gum made from birch bark has been discovered which dates to nearly 10,000 years ago.


Until the 1940s, nearly all chewing gum was made from the sap of a handful of South American tree species. This natural gum base, called chicle, was eventually replaced by synthetic gum base, which makes up the majority of modern gums.


Being so soft and pliable, gum can take a lot of different shapes when you buy it. Among them: gum in the shape of a ball (gumballs), sticks, ribbons, tabs, chunks, cubes, cylinders, and dragée gum, which are the familiar pillow-shaped coated pellets.


While swallowing gum is not ideal, you can forget that old myth about gum living in your intestines for seven years. The bulk of it simply gets pooped out in a day or two like any other indigestible.


In the world of chewing gum flavors, mint is king. Spearmint and peppermint lead the pack (no pun intended) as the most popular flavors, and mint varieties have reigned for several generations, too.


The ideal recipe for bubble gum was discovered by an accountant for the Fleer gum company who liked to experiment with gum ingredients. Walter Diemer’s version not only had the best texture for bubble gum, but set the color standard for decades, since pink was the only food coloring his gum factory had when he hit upon the right recipe.


After cigarette butts, used chewing gum is the most littered item in the world, and because most modern gum has synthetic gum base, is largely non-biodegradable. So dispose of your gum properly!