Which is that one food you like to munch on when pregnancy cravings are bothering you? Calorie bars and chocolates cannot always satiate your hunger, which keeps coming back.
Many women choose to chew gum to do away with cravings—but, how safe is this alternative?
Benefits Of Chewing Gum During Pregnancy
Studies have shown that chewing gum can actually subside cravings and reduce the tendency to consume sweet foods.1
Chewing gum also stimulates the secretion of more saliva, which could reduce the effect of heartburn and acid reflux by reducing the burning sensation in your esophagus.
Moms also use gums to tackle nausea and morning sickness in the early pregnancy—it could be a temporary remedy.
If you buy for sugar-free you must be aware that gums contain artificial sweeteners. What are they? Artificial sweeteners are added to food to make them sweet without using sugar. All the foods in the supermarket that are labeled as ‘sugar-free’ contain artificial sweeteners.
There are two types of artificial sweeteners—nutritive and non-nutritive. Nutritive sweeteners contain calories while non-nutritive has no nutritional value. Though nutritive sweeteners contain calories, they contain low or negligible amounts of vitamins or minerals.
Most brands contain nutritive artificial sweeteners. However, you should keep your distance from these, in case you are pregnant and are suffering from a medical condition like gestational diabetes, insulin resistance, or diabetes mellitus.
Consult your doctor before buying gums, especially those containing nutritive sweeteners. However, there has been no claim that they can harm a pregnant lady’s health.
The Good Gum And The Bad Gum
Everything is good in moderation. Yet, now that there is a life dependent on your health, you must know about the good and bad of the foods that you eat.
These types of non-nutritive sweeteners can be safely consumed during pregnancy.
1. Gums With Aspartame
Aspartame is added to foods like soft drinks, gelatin, chewing gum, dairy products, desserts and breakfast cereals.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has tagged Aspartame safe during pregnancy as well as lactation. However, it is also recommended to consume it in moderation.
Mothers who suffer from phenylketonuria (PKU) must refrain from chewing gums. PKU is a rare genetic disorder which causes phenylalanine (an amino acid that forms proteins) levels in the body to increase, making it harmful for the fetus.2 The substance is also found in gums with Aspartame.
2. Gums Added With Rebaudioside A
The substance is added to juices and soft drinks. The FDA has given a green signal for gums with Stevia.
3. Gums Containing Sucralose
This one is a non-nutritive sweetener that is usually added to baked foods, gums, non-alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, sweet sauces, syrups, and toppings.
It does not add to any calories and is safe for your blood sugar levels. The FDA has marked it safe for use during pregnancy.
4. Gums With Nicotine
Use of nicotine gums is common among mothers who are striving hard to keep away from cigarettes. Though there was a reduction is smoking, it was also observed that it led to increased birth weight and gestational age.3 Yet, don’t forget that moderation is the key.
There are also some types of gums that you should not take any chances with.
1. Gums Containing Saccharin
The FDA has approved Saccharin to be safe during pregnancy. However, previous studies have tagged it as dangerous, increasing the risk of bladder cancer, though the National Toxicology program dismissed it. But, it has been shown to cross the placenta and remain in the fetal tissues.
It is better to be safe than sorry—be cautious to avoid gums with saccharin present in them.
2. Gums With Sorbitol
Sorbital has been known to cause gastrointestinal problems and even impact the nutrient absorption in the body.4
Cases where a woman suffered from diarrhea and abdominal pain for 8 months because of chewing gum containing sorbitol have come to picture.5
A 46-year-old man was admitted to hospital due to severe diarrhea and weight loss.6 Even thought chewing gum could do so much?
Did you swallow the gum by mistake? Not a problem—it will come out like any other undigested food.
Keep you doctor informed about your diet, even if it means you are telling them that you are chewing gum. They may be better to advise you on which ones are right and what to avoid. Remember, to read the label before you buy your favorite gum.
|↑1||Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. “Chewing Gum Reduces Snack Cravings And Decreases Consumption Of Sweet Snacks.” ScienceDaily.|
|↑2||phenylketonuria.National Institute Of Health|
|↑3||Oncken, Cheryl, Ellen Dornelas, John Greene, Heather Sankey, Allen Glasmann, Richard Feinn, and Henry R. Kranzler. “Nicotine gum for pregnant smokers: a randomized controlled trial.” Obstetrics and gynecology 112, no. 4 (2008): 859.|
|↑4||Rerat, A., A. Giusi-Perier, and P. Vaissade. “Absorption balances and kinetics of nutrients and bacterial metabolites in conscious pigs after intake of maltose-or maltitol-rich diets.” Journal of animal science 71, no. 9 (1993): 2473-2488.|
|↑5, ↑6||Bauditz, Juergen, Kristina Norman, Henrik Biering, Herbert Lochs, and Matthias Pirlich. “Lesson of the Week: Severe weight loss caused by chewing gum.” BMJ: British Medical Journal 336, no. 7635 (2008): 96.|