Myth: A chewing gum tree will absolutely grow inside of you
Truth: [Laughter, followed by more laughter] (We took that as a hard no.)
Myth: Parts of gum get stuck in you forever
Truth: “There are rare instances that it can accumulate and get stuck, but that could mean you don’t have a normal digestive tract to begin with. When you’re chewing gum long enough, it gets hard; ultimately all of the acidity and chemicals in our body will harden it and break it into smaller and smaller pieces, and eventually it will get wrapped up in the stool and you poop it out.
“One analogy you can look at is popcorn kernels, or corn in general. You may notice that you can see corn in your stool, completely undigested. If you were to swallow gum and take a look inside your stomach it’s hard to gauge when it will break down, but it’s also not going to stick around you stomach. It’s going to eventually get hard and move out, and become smaller pieces that get wrapped up in a tool and come out. There’s nothing to get absorbed from it, there’s no nutritional value. It eventually gets small enough to pass through your digestive track.”
Myth: Swallowing more gum increases chances for damage
Truth: “If you ate 50 pieces of gum and it all becomes one giant ball, I mean, I don’t think anything good could come from that. You don’t really know what could happen, but eventually everything passes through. Nothing really gets hung up in there.”
Myth: So, basically doctors think it’s totally fine if you swallow gum
Truth: “It’s not logical. Don’t swallow gum. Just spit it out when you’re done.”
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Liz Newman is a freelance writer for Thrillist, and does not regret swallowing lots of grape-flavored Big League Chew during her childhood because it just was so damn tasty. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @lizn813.