The Truth About Chewing Gum

The Truth About Chewing Gum

One of America’s favorite passtimes and quick fixes for bad breath, chewing gum is a daily ritual for millions of americans. Ever wonder what is in the gum you are chewing or what effect it has on your health?

Quick Stats

  • More than 100,000 tons of chewing gum being consumed every year.
  • Every year over 374 trillion sticks of chewing gum are made.
  • In the next 5 years, over 1 million metric tones of chewing gum will be produced.
  • The Chewing Gum Industry is profitable market. The world’s chewing gum industry is estimated to be worth approximately US $19 billion.

Potential Health Benefits of Chewing Gum.

Chewing gum improves memory

Some suggest that chewing gum can help in improving memory and enhance cognitive powers.  Research studies show that people who chewed throughout standardized tests produced significantly better scores than people who did not. Some attribute this to an increase in the stimuli produced in the area in our brain linked to memory, the hippocampus, when you continuously move your jaw.  Chewing gum can also increases blood flow to the brain. Some studies have reported that blood flow to the brain increases by as much as 25 to 40 percent during gum chewing. Also the act of chewing speeds up our heartbeat and blood pressure just enough to wake up both left-and right hemispheres to work together.

Check out this site for one of the first studies showing actual evidence of this. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2039-chewing-gum-improves-memory.html

Chewing gum reduces symptoms of stress

Research has shown that the rhythmic motion of chewing gum has a stress-reducing effect because relaxed and satisfied feelings. Psychiatrists and psychologists believe that chewing gum can help reduce tension and help to release nervous energy. Chewing gum may provide an outlet for frustration and irritation while also increasing alertness and concentration.

For more on this http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/119826.php

Chewing gum helps to manage weight

With a low-calorie count (5 to 10 per serving), chewing gum is an inexpensive snack. According to some studies, adults who chewed gum ate 36 calories less of the snack than adults who did not chew gum. Both regular and sugar-free chewing gum helped adults to eat less by helping to curb their appetite. The physical act of gum chewing may help to reduce your cravings for high calorie snacks. Some reports show that chewing gum can burn around 11 calories per hour. (IE not to be used in place of actualy exercise)

Chewing gum improves digestion

Chewing gum helps to improve intestinal motility and also helps to increase saliva flow which promotes more frequent swallowing. This helps to prevent reflux of acid from the stomach back into the throat.

Chewing gum improves oral health

The results of scientific research demonstrate that chewing gum is good for oral health and teeth specifically. Chewing gum increases saliva, which is the most important component of oral health and powerful protector of the oral cavity. Stimulated saliva corrects a potentially harmful environment using its high concentration of buffers, minerals and antibacterial components. That helps to flush sugars, food debris and decay-causing acids out of the mouth. Chewing gum also freshens breath, whitens teeth by reducing stains and preventing stains from accumulating and reduces plaque.

Potential Health Risks of Chewing Gum

The basic make up of gum: gum base, softeners, sweeteners and flavorings. Ever wonder what makes up the sweetener and flavoring part?

The Ingredients

Sweeteners are added to gum to give it that sweet flavor. Those ingredients are usually sugar, corn syrup and even beet juice. Sugar is probably the healthiest off all sweeteners. Sweeteners such as  xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol and aspartame are also used, which have been linked to several long-term health effects that are also found in diet sodas.

Some gum ingredients are suspected to be carcinogens or have been linked to various health conditions. Sugar can cause cavities and lead to health issues such as diabetes, while aspartame, a popular artificial sweetener, has been linked to cancer, diabetes, and neurological disorders. Chewing gum containing such ingredients can have dangerous and long-lasting health effects.
What about Sugar-less or Sugar-free gum?

 Sugar-free chewing gum has a number of dental benefits. Sugar free chewing gum doesn’t cause tooth decay. It demineralises tooth enamel and has an antimicrobial effect. Those who chewed sugar-free gum after eating had fewer cavities than those who did not. HOWEVER, Sugar-free gum often contains either aspartame or sorbitol, the first being  potentially toxic and increasing your hunger, and the second becoming a  dangerous laxative in large doses. For me, it’s very similar to comparing soda to diet soda.

Jaw Related Issues
One of the most common health issues related to chewing gum is muscle fatigue due to overuse of the jaw muscles. This is known to lead to chronic headaches. The action of chewing gum can also cause unnecessary wear on the cartilage in the jaw joint. Frequent gum chewers may be more likely to develop problems in the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ

My suggestion
Most health nuts will advise you to switch to something outrageous like licorice root, parsley, or chewing on a natural tooth pic. I actually believe the benefits outweigh the negatives in terms of chewing gum. I suggest looking for a gum sweetened with erythritol ( a natural sugar alcohol which has recently gained popularity because of its inclusion in a few mainstream stevia based sweeteners),stevia, or lastly xylitol at a natural foods store. Identifying products with no sugar additives or artificial sweeteners is important with all food selections and should not be any different for gum. While it is more expensive, this type of gum is more safe and less likely to cause adverse health effects. Make your pack last twice as long by chewing half a piece a day versus a whole piece.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions.
From South Bend,

Nutrition In Sports

Nutrition In Sports

My blog this week comes in the form of an interview I did regarding nutrition in youth sports and for professional athletes. Take a look and enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_G8zkT5HpQQ&feature=youtu.be

Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin

Why Our Society Is Fat?

Approximately 72.5 million American adults are obese and 42% of Americans Will Be Obese By 2030.

Obesity, diabities, and other weight related issues have become an epidemic in today’s society. Trans fats, artificial sweeteners,  and sugar loaded foods are partly to blame. Laziness, time restraints, and abundant resources are also major contributors. But how about our ancestors and genetics? What if some of our genes and bodily make up were predisposed towards storing fat? One theory suggests this could be a contibuting factor to the obesity epidemic that has taken over the US.

Thrifty Gene Hypothesis

Background

In 1962 geneticist James Neel proposed the thrifty gene hypothesis to partially explain the rise in diabetes in the world. The central premise of this theory is that through natural selection we evolved to be efficient at food storage and utilization. In Neel’s original hypothesis, he stated that ancient humans went through a cycle of feast and famine. The people who had bodies that were better at fuel storage or utilization were more likely to survive during the famine portion of the cycle. Thus over many generations, we developed genetically to be exceptionally efficient at the intake and utilization of fuel as these were beneficial adaptations throughout the majority of human life.

Relating To Obesity

This theory suggests that humans have genes which predispose them to obesity and fat storage.  Essentially, our bodies have evolved as a product of our ancestors whose primary goal when they ate was to store food as fat. This ‘thrifty’ genotype would have been advantageous for hunter-gatherer populations, especially child-bearing women, because it would allow them to fatten more quickly during times of abundance. Fatter individuals carrying the thrifty genes would thus better survive times of food scarcity. However, in modern societies with a constant abundance of food, this genotype efficiently prepares individuals for a famine that never comes. The result is widespread chronic obesity and related health problems like diabetes.

Why Weren’t Our Ancestors Fat?

In the hunter-gatherer society, food was gotten largely through physical activity. Our ancient ancestors have been estimated to have hunt for food for 1-4 nonconsecutive days per week, while women gathered food 2-3 days per week. Needless to say, they were a little more active than the average American who spends anywhere from 10-12 hours a day seated.

 ‘Stone Age’ genes and ‘Space Age’ circumstances

A 2 minute drive in a car with leather/reclined/heated seats to the grocery store is not the same as several miles of hiking and scavenging to find food and resources. We have theses genes which have been inherited from our “stone age” ancestors in these “space age” circumstances where resources are over-abundant almost to fault, and everything is convenient and easy.

Opposition And Problems

  • What about other sociities such as asian cultures where obesity rates are not even close to what they are in America?
  •  The field of epigenetics has shown that the body can manipulate the degree of transcription, or activation, a particularly gene has. Even more astounding is that environmental factors can impact the epigenome within a lifetime, thus altering how a gene functions. This suggests that our genes could recognize certain environmental factors available and adapt as a result which would poke holes in the thrifty gene hypothesis.

Conclusion

As can be seen, the genetics of obesity and the thrifty gene hypothesis are a complicated subject. It is easy to accept or dismiss portions of the hypothesis based on select data, but when taken in full it is clear that we simply do not understand everything that goes into the relationship between genetics and obesity.

Regardless, the important thing to remember is that environment and activity levels play a very large role in obesity problems in America.  Sure we all have different body types and some of us are more likely to put on weight, but the good news is that with proper dietary and exercise practices, you pretty much control your destiny.

Thanks for reading and I will be interested to here comments about this theory and post.

From South Bend,

Kevin

Obesity; A Growing Epidemic

Obesity; A Growing Epidemic

Thanks to Tony Shin for forwarding me this graphic. I think it is very pertinent to today’s society. Theses statistics are both shocking and scary and should motivate everyone to not only take care of their own health, but also look after close friends and family to help combat the growing obesity epidemic in America.

For more on this graphic visit http://MedicalCodingCareerGuide.com.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

From South Bend,

Kevin

An Oatmeal Recipe You Will Love

An Oatmeal Recipe You Will Love

Studies have shown that regularly skipping breakfast increases your risk of obesity by 450%!

This week’s blog can be found at http://www.builtlean.com/. This is another great health-orientated website and one that I will be writing for once a month. My article is the headline article on the homepage.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have questions or comments.

Kevin

Healthy Versions Of Your Favorite Meals

HEALTHY VERSIONS OF YOUR FAVORITE MEALS

Changing your diet does not mean getting rid of your favorite foods. Any diet (whether you are trying to gain or lose weight) that has you completely changing the foods you eat, while eliminating some of your favorites, is setting you up for failure. Alterations to portion sizes and ingredients can transform notoriously unhealthy foods, such as ice cream, pizza, or burgers, into a healthy dinner option. This blog is intended to show you some good, bad, and everything in between, of popular foods we consume as a society. Each individual meal below can be catered toward your specific need, whether you are trying to put on muscle, lose fat, carbo-load for an event, or need an idea for your next dinner.

“The danger is not to set your goal too high and fail to reach it. It’s to set your goal too low and reach it.”

(Take a look at the change in obesity rates from 1991 to 2003 in America. Thanks to Doctor Anderson for forwarding this literature to me.)

 

 

PIZZA

The average American eats 46 slices (23 pounds) of pizza a year. 

Examples of things to stay away from: Keep in mind the American Heart Association recommends your sodium intake to be 1500 mg per day or less.

1. Papa John’s Pizza Pan Crust Cheese Pizza (1 slice)

  • 380 calories
  • 15 g fat (7 g saturated fat)
  • 1000 mg of sodium


2. Sbarro Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza (1 slice)

  • 960 calories
  • 42 g fat
  • 3,200 mg sodium

3. Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Meat Lover’s Pizza (1 slice)

  • 480 calories
  • 26 g fat (12 g saturated, 1 g trans)
  • 1390 mg sodium


4. Uno Chicago Grill Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza (Individual pizza)

  • 2,310 calories
  • 162 g fat (54 g saturated fat)
  • 4,920 mg sodium

Common Mistakes

1. Being influenced by America-The motto that” bigger is better” has jumbo sized many of our foods and toppings. Italy, where pizza was originated, has pizza that is based around a thin crust (usually half the amount of flour as a traditional american, thin crust) with a flavorful, low-sugar, tomato based sauce, loaded with fresh-cut veggies and “SOME” cheese.

Try to guess which pizza is from America!

2. It’s not just cheese that’s hurting you– Sausage, ham, beef, and bacon, are just a few of the most popular toppings that exist today. Many of these salt-cured meats contain more than a day’s worth of sodium and are loaded with fat and grease. Salty meats coupled with a surplus of processed cheese does not make for the healthiest combo. Add some grease with a refined, carbo-loaded crust and you will help contribute to the obesity charts listed above.

3. Portions- Restaurants such as Sbarro serve up gigantic slices that are often two slices piled into one.

Quick fixes

  • As a general rule, avoid all over sized and stuffed crusts at pizza chains. Stick to a regular or thin sized crust. Better yet, make a multi-grain or whole wheat crust. Many pizza places now carry these different options.
  • As far as toppings go, stay with ham, Canadian bacon, or grilled meats, and nix the pepperoni and sausage. Load it with veggies instead.

Barbecue Chicken Thin Crust Pizza-A great example

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) thin pizza 100% whole wheat  or multi-grain pizza crust
  • 1/3 cup barbecue or homemade tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 1/4 pound)

Dominos Crunchy Thin Crust  Hawaiian Pizza- decent restaurant option

1 slice

  • 150 calories
  • 8 grams of fat
  • 315 mg’s of sodium

BURGERS: Food industry consulting firm Technomic says, “Almost half of Americans, 48 percent, eat a burger once a week.”

Examples of things to stay away from

1. Hardee’s Monster Thickburger

1,420 calories
108 g fat (43 g saturated fat)
2,770 mg sodium
230 mg cholesterol

2. Five Guys Cheeseburger (plain)
840 calories
55 g fat (22.5 g saturated)
1,050 mg sodium
3. Burger King Triple Whopper Sandwich with Cheese and Mayo
1,250 calories
84 g fat (32 g saturated, 3.5 g trans)
1,600 mg sodium
Common Mistakes
1. American Influence: The “bigger is better” motto is probably most prevalent in the burger industry. With sandwiches such as the Triple Whopper or Big Mac, you can easily find burgers with 2 or 3 patties in many restaurants and chains.
2. Choosing the wrong meat: Problems start with the high fat ground beef that is often chosen because it is cheap and easy to make. Substituting standard ground beef with a lean-ground turkey meat, bison, poultry, or lean-ground beef, will make a world of difference.
3. The way the meat is prepared:  Restaurants and fast food chains have been known to deep fry high-fat burgers in a mixture of grease and oil. Play it safe and grill your meat or throw it in the broiler for the best results. Using a 90/10 lean ground beef and cooking it over medium heat for even browning will provide great results.
4. Using Mayonnaise: 1 tbsp of mayo has 11 grams of fat and 100 calories and most people probably use at least double that as a topping on a burger. Substitute mayo with avocado or a healthy guacamole instead.
5. Choosing the wrong bun: White buns are the most common choice among burger consumers. White bread is refined flour that spikes your blood sugar and is extremely high on the glycemic index with almost no protein and affects your body in the same way as white sugar.
6. Choosing the wrong sides: Fries are the most common side ordered with a burger. I could probably write a whole book on the negatives of french fries but instead I will just suggest that you substitute them for sweet potato wedges, a healthy coleslaw, or a side salad.

What to choose instead

1. Keep it lean: Either the extra lean (also known as 5% or 95/5) or the lean (also known as 10% or 90/10) ground beef is a healthful substitute for a standard beef patty. Get creative and make a bison burger or turkey burger for even more health benefits and great taste.
2. Choose the right sides: Complement your lean burger with fresh fruit, a green salad, beans, veggies, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, or basically anything other than standard french fries.
3. Choosing a soft cheese: For a healthier sandwich topping, try soft cheeses, like mozzarella or feta cheese. Soft cheeses tend to be lower in fat and less processed then something like american cheese.
4. The right bun: Many restaurants offer a whole wheat or multi-grain bun as a substitute. If you are making a burger at home use half a bun and load it with veggies instead.
Greek Bison Burger-a great example
Nutritional Information

(per serving)

Calories 392
Total Fat 16g
Saturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 68mg
Sodium 671mg
Total Carbohydrate 30g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars
Protein 35g
Calcium
Ingredients(serves 2 to 4)
  • 1 pound(s) ground bison
  • 1/2 cup(s) cooked spinach, squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup(s) crumbled feta cheese, preferably sheep’s milk
  • 2 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon(s) minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup(s) non-fat or low-fat Greek-style plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chopped fresh dill
  • 4  French rolls or 4-inch pieces of baguette, preferably whole-wheat, split and toasted
  • 16 slice(s) (thin) English cucumber
  • 8 slice(s) vine-ripened tomato
  • 4 slice(s) (thin round) red onion
Balsamic Turkey Burger
Turkey Burgers With BBQ Sauce and Bell Peppers
Ingredients
  • 1 Whole wheat english muffin
  • Kale or lettuce
  • 1 slice Provolone Cheese
  • 1 sliced tomato
  • 1/2 pound of lean Turkey meat with1/2 cup chopped red onions sautéed with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of balsamic-vinegar
  • Calories per serving: 470; Fat: 12 grams

SALADS: People always affiliate salads as automatically being healthy. But, as depicted below, this is not the case in several circumstances.

Some examples of things to avoid:

1. Chili’s Southwestern Cobb Salad
  •  1,080 calories
  • 71 grams fat
  • 2,650 mg sodium
2. Applebee’s Santa Fe chicken salad

  • Calories: 1300
  • Saturated Fat (g): 25
  • Sodium (mg): 3420
  • Carbohydrates (g): 57
3. Outback Steakhouse queensland salad.

  • Calories: 1129
  • Saturated Fat (g): 26
  • Sodium (mg): 1975
  • Carbohydrates (g): 42
Common Mistakes
  1. Processed Salad Dressing.. Like RANCH– A mixture of trans fat, sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavoring, make for a deadly combo. (1 serving of ranch has 140 calories, 14 g fat, and 260 mg sodium). Opt instead for vinegarettes, balsamics, light olive oils, tomato salsas, or make your own.
  2. Using Iceberg lettuce– Contains almost no nutritional value. Opt for darker greens like spinach, mixed greens, kale, or arugula. This is something you will actually benefit from and tastes better.
  3. Using Croutons– It is white/dried/processed bread.. Enough said. 1/2 cup croutons has 100 calories. If you have to use them, use 100% whole grain croutons or make your own from 100% whole grain bread or some sort of sprouted grain bread.
  4. Bacon bits– Despite how good they taste, most bacon bits are highly processed and made up of mostly sodium and saturated fat. Opt for a natural protein like beans, grilled meats, or nuts.
  5. Cheese– A good salad shouldn’t need a lot of cheese but if you like it use it sparingly and opt for a more natural cheese such as feta.
What to add instead
1. Beans-Beans are high in protein, iron,  and a complex carbohydrate. With varieties such as black, kidney, garbanzo, you can substitute this protein for the more unhealthy fried/breaded meats, or some of the high sodium deli meats like pepperoni or salami.
2. Nuts and seeds-Almonds, walnuts, cashews, flax-seed, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds, can all be added as a substitute for croutons to keep the crunch of your salad, while adding essential vitamins and minerals, that you will benefit from.
3. Dried fruits– Cranberries, raisins, and apricots, can all add some sweetness to your salad. While they do contain moderate/high amounts of sugar, using a handful of dried fruits will not affect you and the antioxidant properties will outweigh any negatives caused by the sugar.
4. Avocado– A great source of healthy fats that is loaded with vitamin E can make for a nice addition.
5. Whole grains– Whole-wheat couscous, quinoa, and barley are all protein rich grains that are high in fiber toppings and make a great addition.
6. A healthy dressing– Vinegarettes and light oils are generally the safest but a healthy tomato salsa or lemon juice can give it a nice kick as well.
7. Creative veggies- There is nothing wrong with green pepper, cucumber, and carrots, but those can get got boring. Next time, opt for some artichoke, beets, radishes, turnips, or parsnips.
(A great example)
Salad of grilled chicken tenderloins with avocado, tomatoes, red onion, green beans, spinach and arugula. Delicious healthy eating. Stock Photo - 5366430
Ingredients
  • grilled chicken tenderloins
  • avocado
  • tomato
  • green beans
  • spinach
  • arugula
  • balsamic vinegarette dressing

You can now find my blog on “The Hockey Season App” which can be found using the link below and used with any iOS device such as an Iphone or Ipad.

http://itunes.apple.com/app/the-hockey-season/id481402661?ls=1&mt=8

Thanks for reading, from Norway,

Kevin

kdeeth21@gmail.com