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Forget The Coffee, Chewing Gum Is The Cheapest Way To Stay Alert. Which Brands Should You Favor or Avoid?

Move over coffee lovers, there is a new player in town to improve your energy. Researchers found that chewing gum affects several different indicators of alertness and improves attention. However, chewing gum is one of the biggest sources of toxic artificial sweeteners. Here are the brands to look out for.

Caffeine, the main active chemical of coffee, blocks adenosine, a chemical that makes you naturally drowsy, increasing concentration and reaction speed. But the long term effects can be really tricky. Once the temporary stimulation stops, the brain cells start needing caffeine for stimulation and a sudden neural sluggishness installs.

Chewing gum could "act as a relatively inexpensive and safe means of enhancing sustained attention," according to the authors.The study, published in the Physiology & Behavior journal, adds to a growing body of research on gum.

A mild increase in heart rate people experience while chewing gum has been found to improve the delivery of oxygen and glucose to the brain, enough to improve cognitive function.

Lead researcher Andrew Allen, University College Cork, said there was already quite robust evidence that chewing gum was associated with improved alertness, particularly in situations where alertness was depleted, such as a fatiguing work context.

"What was relatively new about this study was that we looked at both central nervous system measures and cardiovascular measures and how these related to subjective alertness and attention performance," he said.

"The results of this study indicated faster reaction time following chewing gum, as well as heightened arousal in terms of heart rate and EEG measures (a recording of brain activity).

"Driving is a task that requires sustained attention and sustained alertness. If chewing gum can enhance attention and alertness, or at least prevent them from slipping, then it could result in improved performance in applied contexts," the researchers said.

The study concludes: "The enhancing effect of chewing gum on vigilance accuracy suggests that it may be useful in a number of applied contexts, such as driving; it has been suggested that this could be tested using driving simulation techniques, similar to research assessing possible enhancing effects of caffeine."

85 Percent of Major Brands of Chewing Gum Still Contain Aspartame and Sucralose

Aspartame in gum is absorbed by the buccal mucosa of the mouth, gums, and the tongue. According to research, because aspartame is absorbed this way, it makes aspartame a far worse poisoning than if given or injected intravenously. The aspartame goes directly into the brain by passing the spinal cord and the blood-brain barrier when it is absorbed in the mouth. The smallest amount of aspartame (like what is contained in a piece of gum) is very dangerous and damaging to the health of the body.

When aspartame is ingested into the digestive tract, it breaks down into numerous other poisons. The intact Aspartame molecule and its diketopiperazine form are vastly worse poisonings than any of the other poisonings which arise from it during digestion, and liver processing of the digestive blood, which is delivered directly to the liver via the portal vein. The other poisonings, as mentioned, are indeed horrendous but Aspartame from gum is far worse, making even the smaller amounts contained in chewing gum strikingly dangerous and damaging.

Aspartame, via ingestion into the digestive tract, is made into some ten other poisonings by the digestive processes, and then excepting that which is delivered directly to the pancreas, they are transported straight to the liver via the portal vein, where they then are very partially dealt with, and partially reprocessed. Afterwards, they are sent in somewhat lesser concentration to the entire body, lessening the amount which eventually goes to the brain. The amount getting to the brain from either source is devastating to it in many ways. Aspartame is most certainly devastatingly toxic when ingested, but a like amount is immensely worse when obtained from chewing gum.

If you'd like to avoid aspartame, please keep in mind that it's not only in chewing gum. It is a common ingredient in many packaged foods and beverages, particularly those that are marketed as being sugar-free or low in calories. Examples include sugar-free or low calorie:

* Yogurt
* Chewing gum
* Soft drinks
* Cookies and candy bars that are made for diabetics
* Frozen desserts
* Artificial sweeteners
* Cough candies, drops, and syrups
* Chewable vitamins

A report from scientists at Duke University demonstrated that the artificial sweetener Splenda (sucralose) and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 11 to 27 percent of ingested sucralose is absorbed by the human body (FDA 1998). Research published by the manufacturer of sucralose (Roberts 2000) shows that when 8 healthy male adults where given sucralose (in 1 mg/kg amounts), between 10.4% and 30.6% of the sucralose was absorbed. In addition, 1.6% to 12.2% of the sucralose accumulates in the body.

Splenda/sucralose is simply chlorinated sugar; a chlorocarbon. Common chlorocarbons include carbon tetrachloride, trichlorethelene and methylene chloride, all deadly. Chlorine is nature's Doberman attack dog, a highly excitable, ferocious atomic element employed as a biocide in bleach, disinfectants, insecticide, WWI poison gas and hydrochloric acid.

Sucralose is a molecule of sugar chemically manipulated to surrender three hydroxyl groups (hydrogen + oxygen) and replace them with three chlorine atoms. Natural sugar is a hydrocarbon built around 12 carbon atoms. When turned into Splenda it becomes a chlorocarbon, in the family of Chlorodane, Lindane and DDT.

Vincent Cogliano, head of the IARC program at that time identified environmental factors that can raise the risk of human cancer, says trace amounts of vinyl acetate could make it into polyvinyl acetate, the chewing-gum ingredient.

"Polyvinyl acetate is made from vinyl acetate. Not necessarily one-hundred-point-zero-zero per cent is bound into the polymer, but there may be some," he said.

The Wrigley Company, makers of Doublemint, Big Red, Extra, Hubba Bubba and Juicy Fruit, likewise said its products do not contain vinyl acetate.

The IARC believed that trace amounts of vinyl acetate could make it into the gum base material and the Canadian regulators suggested that a 'precautionary approach' could be justified.

The proposal caused a furore amongst gum manufacturers who argued that even if they did make their gum from vinyl acetate none - or only minute amounts - would remain in the finished product. In 2009 the Canadian regulators backed down.

But vinyl acetate is not only toxic chemical in most chewing gums. Most also have hydrogentated soybean oil, aspartame, soy lecithin. These toxic ingredients are especially evident in brands from Trident, Dentyne and Wrigleys. Ironically, all of these claim that their chewing gum products fight cavities. Unfortunately, any benefit derived from fighting cavities through these types of chewing gum is very quickly negated by the extreme levels of toxicity in their ingredients which are far more detrimental to our health. Of course, they won't tell you that.


"5" - Wrigley, USA
"Big League" - Ford Gum, USA
"Big Red" - Wrigley, USA
"Bubble Yum" - Hershey, USA
"Bubblicious" - Cadbury, UK
"Clorets" - Cadbury, UK
"Cinnaburst" - Cadbury, UK
"Dentyne" - Cadbury, UK
"Doublemint" - Wrigley, USA
"Dubble Bubble" - Concord Confections, Canada
"Eclipse" - Wrigley, USA
"Eclipse Ice" - Wrigley, Australia, New Zealand
"Excel" - Wrigley, USA
"Extra" - Wrigley, USA
"Freedent" - Wrigley, USA
"Fruit Stripe gum" - USA
"Hoodia Gum" - USA
"Maple Leaf Chewing gum" - Netherlands
"Hubba Bubba" - Wrigley, USA
"Ice Breakers" - Hershey, USA
"Juicy Fruit" - Wrigley, Canada, USA
"Mentos" - Netherlands
"Nicorette" - Canada, USA
"Orbit" - Wrigley, USA
"Razzles" - Wrigley Jr. Company, USA
"Tidal Wave" - Amurol Confections, Aurora, Illinois
"Think Gum" - Think Gum LLC, USA
"Stride" - Cadbury, USA
"Trident" - Cadbury, Canada
"Vibe Energy Gum" - Super Mouth Ltd, UK
"Winterfresh" - Wrigley, USA
"Wrigley's Spearmint" - Wrigley, USA
"Zoft Gum" - Zoft Gum Company, USA

Natural Alternatives - Aspartame/Sucralose Free Gum

There are now several chewing gums free of aspartame and sucralose on the market. Some mainstream brands such as Chiclets and Bazooka claim to be aspartame free but still have toxic ingredients and colors. Zapp Gum is another alternative but it still has artificial flavour and toxic soy lecithin. Peppersmith is touted as an all natural gum but contains genetically modified rapeseed lecithin.

What you need to look for are chewing gums with no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors, no artificial colors and no artificial sweeteners. Do they exist? Yes. Here are two brands but you can also make your own gum if you are up to the task:

Glee Gum is all-natural, gluten-free chewing gum with no artificial coloring, flavoring, sweeteners nor preservatives. Glee Gum is the only gum in North America made the old-fashioned way using chicle. Chicle is a natural tree sap harvested sustainably from the rainforests of Central America.

Pur gum comes in a couple of different (and yummy) flavors, pomegranate mint, spearmint, and peppermint.

Happy Chewing!


Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.

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