A number of football coaches are famous for chewing gum during their teams' matches, and not only did they attract the attention of fans in stadiums and on television, but the phenomenon prompted researchers to conduct a study on the subject.
Japanese researchers divided two groups of people into a group that chews gum and a group that does not chew it, and found that people who chewed gum for 20 minutes achieved 24% better performance in short-term memory and 38% in long-term memory compared to those who did not chew it.
The researchers found that chewing gum boosts memory, makes remembering easier, facilitates learning and increases attention time.
The site reported that when chewing gum is exposed to the roots of the teeth pressure, and nerve stimuli occur, and the brain begins to absorb information about that food will come soon, and therefore the body begins to prepare for the next food, and then the blood sugar level rises slightly, accompanied by the activation of insulin receptors, and when the blood sugar level rises, sugar is transferred from the blood to the inside of the cells, and when chewing gum, the brain can capture glucose easier, increasing the level of energy and attention.
Imagine the moment of the football game and the things that a football coach must do in a stadium consisting of many parts, and he must notice this system and the problems in it and correct them through changes of players or tactics, so chewing gum helps him think better.
What are the harms of chewing gum?
While chewing gum has some potential benefits, chewing too much of it can cause some unwanted side effects, including:
- Diarrhea: Sugar alcohols used to sweeten sugar-free gum have a laxative effect when consumed in large quantities, meaning that chewing too much sugar-free gum can cause digestive problems and diarrhea.
- Sugar-sweetened gum is harmful to dental health, because sugar is digested by bad bacteria in your mouth, causing an increase in the amount of plaque on your teeth and tooth decay over time, and eating too much sugar is also associated with a number of health conditions, such as obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes.
- Jaw problems: Constant chewing can lead to a jaw problem called temporomandibular disorder (TMD), which causes pain when chewing, and although this condition is rare, some studies have found a link between excessive chewing and TMJ disorder.
- Headaches: One research review suggests that chewing gum regularly may cause headaches in people prone to migraine attacks and tension headaches.
What happens to the stomach when you swallow gum?
According to the Mayo Clinic, although gum is designed to chew and not swallow, it is generally not harmful if swallowed.
A common myth suggests that swallowed gum stays in your stomach for a long time before you can digest it, but this is not true, if you swallow gum, it will not be digested but does not remain in your stomach, but moves relatively properly through the digestive system and exits with feces.
In very rare cases, swallowing large amounts of gum with constipation leads to intestinal obstruction in children, which is why frequent chewing gum should not be discouraged, especially in children.
Which gum should you choose?
If you like chewing gum it is best to choose sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol, the main exception to this rule is for people with irritable bowel syndrome.
Sugar-free gum contains substances that can cause digestive problems in people with irritable bowel syndrome, and they are advised to choose gum sweetened with a low-calorie sweetener such as stevia.