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Does Gum Really Take 7 Years To Digest?

I sometimes pop some gum before I go for my morning run.  It doesn’t make MUCH sense, but for some reason, I like to banish my morning breath before I strap on my sneaks and work up a sweat.  After my run, as many people do, I take a shower (this story is about to come together, I swear!).

This past Thursday, I somehow swallowed my gum while I was shampooing my hair.  I threw my head forward, eyes wide, and made a sound deep in my throat like “GRAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!”  Try as I might, I couldn’t coax the wintergreen wad out of my esophagus, and so I was forced to face the terrifying reality: that little shit was going to be in my system for 7 YEARS!

Or wait, was that a…?  Wasn’t that a myth?  Maybe not… It’s ridiculous!  7 years! Ha!  Right?  There’s no way… Right?

To Google!

The practical answer is: Yeah, load of garbage.

The technical answer is: Well, gum IS made up mostly of stuff that flat out isn’t digestible.  Which sounds scary, but actually isn’t.  As Snopes.Com’s Mrs. Mikkelson so eloquently puts it:

“Gum is eliminated as human waste in the same way, and at the same rate, as any other swallowed matter.  Granted, it comes out the far end relatively unchanged by the trip, but it does come out on schedule.”  (http://www.snopes.com/oldwives/chewgum.asp)

(see also: corn kernels)

Speaking of scary, my search also turned up this great question:

“Does gum really take 7 years to SWALLOW?!?” (caps mine)

Just think about it.  That would be hell, right?  Should be a Harry Potter curse.  Septus Tridentus!

CategoryFood, How it Works Tagged , , ,
  • I have to be honest, I believed it took 7 years until….I read this post.