Have you seen that commercial for Extra sugar-free gum? It promises chewing the “five-calorie snack” will help you “go from ‘nice gut’ to ‘nice butt.’” Wrigley, makers of Extra, support the claim with a company-funded study that says chewing gum can help keep you away from fattening nosh sessions. However, a different study suggests that Wrigley’s weight-loss assertion may be dangerously understated.
German physicians have concluded that chewing too much sugar-free gum containing sorbitol can lead to massive, unhealthy weight loss. After reviewing the cases of a 21-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man who lost a large percentage of their body weight in a short amount of time due to severe diarrhea, the doctors realized the patients were chewing up to 20 pieces of sugar-free gum per day. Ingesting as much as 200 grams of sorbitol forced them to visit the bathroom at least 10 times every day. (Experts say as little as 50 grams can cause diarrhea.)
The promise of easy weight loss may seem tempting, but excessive diarrhea can lead to serious medical problems. While aspartame is the prominent sweetener in American sugar-free gums, sorbitol is still found as an additional sweetener in many of these products, so stay aware of ingredients to stay healthy.
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