What’s in chewing gum, anyway? For I Write:Decade Edition 3, week 8
|Extra Cinnamon gum has, as advertised, a longer lasting flavor. I have no inclination to report my findings to Mars Wrigley Confectionery; they already know. Even the possibility of a coupon does not sway me. As much as I prefer saving money, I’m not desperate to do so.|
I am not a habitual gum chewer. This foray into masticating sticks of cinnamon Extra is vanity-driven. Over the past thirty years, I have gained almost ninety pounds. Losing weight is a long-term project, but firming up my double chin is doable, if the hints I found online are correct.
Having begun this idiotic piece of writing, I am compelled to learn more.
On the face of it, studying the data on the back of the package is absurd. The nutrition facts are meant to inform consumers, enabling them to make better decisions about their health. Gum is not designed to be good for me, though the people at Mars Wrigley are providing a sugarless product. One serving, or stick, contains 30 percent fewer calories than gum with sugar. A sugared gum has seven calories per serving, but Extra Cinnamon a mere five. Clearly the manufacturer has my best interests at heart.
Reading the nutrition facts, I discover that my gum has zero grams of total fat, sodium, protein, and total sugars. It’s unimpressive my sugarless gum has no sugar, but the panel on the reverse side of the package requires this information. Perhaps Mars Wrigley is discontented with this bit of nonsense, too.
The total carbs are two grams, as are the sugar alcohols. The product itself is two point five grams, leading me to question if the sugar alcohols are the carbs. Do I need to research sugar alcohols?
My three minutes of online research reveals that, yes, the sugar alcohols are the carbs, and their purpose is to sweeten food without using sugar. They are 25-100 percent sweeter than sugared foods, and better for my health.
My relief is short-lived. Outside of the nutrition panel is the puzzling sentence “Contains bioengineered food ingredients.” What on earth are those? Are they bad for me? I thought Mars Wrigley Confectionary cared about me. I though I could trust them. I believed in them, only to find out my chewing gum is made up of something weird and potentially unhealthy.
Before I head off to Hackettstown, New Jersey, to chain myself to a giant M&M, I’d better learn more about bioengineered food products. Okay, they’re not that strange. Here’s a quick copy-and-paste from Medium.com to explain:
In the U.S., genetically modified canola is typically grown. From this grain, the oil portion can be separated and sold as canola oil. As this product is only the oil part of the GM canola plant, it will not contain the modified DNA. Therefore canola oil produced from GM canola would not be bioengineered.
So, these come from genetically modified products, but don’t carry modified DNA. Okay, Mars Wrigley, I’ll spare you this time. A proper explanation would have been handy, though. Maybe they need to include a note in future packages.
Wasn’t I writing about my double chin? Yes, I was. Face, meet palm.
What have I learned from this ridiculous trek down the rabbit trail? My gum, though it is eighty percent sugar, uses healthy sugar. There are mystery ingredients, but they’re not genetically modified. My willingness to look up strange things continues.
I’m never writing about my double chin again.