Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What do sugarless gum and brown pants have in common?

I was reading something about sugarless gum recently that amused me.

I know, I live a boring life.

Anyway, it seems that some of the artificial sweeteners that are in sugarless gum are actually natural and come from plants. Xylitol is one example. It is a sugar alcohol that can be extracted from corn fibre, birch, raspberries, plums, and corn.

All very interesting, I know, but what is my point exactly?

Well, before I get to my point, let me back up to the sugarless gum thing. Why do people chew gum? I guess kids chew it because it is fun to gnaw on stuff, but a lot of adults chew sugarless gum (or any gum, for that matter) because they want to have minty fresh breath. If you are out on a date, or even just chatting with co-workers, you might pop an Airwave or a stick of Extra into your mouth just in case the last thing you ate left some lingering odors wafting out of your gob. Right now in Taiwan (where I live) there are three or four main brand names of sugarless gum on the market, all of which are promoted as having breath freshening properties, and it seems like everyone is hooked on chewing them.

Here's the part I find interesting. People chew this sugarless gum because they don't want to have bad breath, but what they probably don't realize is that the sweetener in the gum is sugar alcohol which doesn't break down in the small intestine, and so it can cause bloating, diarrhea and flatulence.

So, imagine you take a date to dinner and a movie. Right after dinner, you pop a few Airwaves into your mouth so she/he won't be turned off by your garlic breath. Then, as you chew away, about half way through the movie your stomach starts feeling all bloated. You realize that you really need to let one rip, but you can't because your date is sitting right there. So you hold it in and your stomach continues to cramp up and you chew harder because now you're really uncomfortable. Finally you excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and you can't wait to get out into the open where you can relieve the pressure but when you do.... well, let's just hope you wore your brown pants that night.

Of course, this is a worst case scenario, but it could happen, and I bet that people generally don't realize that while they are trying to freshen one end, they are polluting the other.

I wonder which turns a date off quicker, bad breath or a fart...

Feel free to let me know what you think. Post your comment on The Shorty Method.

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