Have you ever stopped to wonder why chewing gum loses its flavor?
It’s not as if any other food stops tasting like the thing you originally put in your mouth after a few chomps. Could you imagine if you took a bite of shrimp cocktail and before it reached your stomach it started tasting a little bit like a tire and had the consistency of one too?
You’d spit it out faster than anyone could make a joke about “see food”.
However, in all fairness I eat too quickly to know what food tastes like after more than a couple chews anyways. It tends to be in my stomach so fast one may be left wondering if I tasted it at all. (Answer: not always.)
Gum, on the other hand, has a special place in the hearts of consumers. Despite the whole losing-its-flavor-and-turning-rubbery phenomenon we just talked about, we still eat it up like it’s, well, inedible candy.
Unlike regular food, gum should never reach the stomach. Humans are unable to digest it, which is part of the reason it loses its flavor in the first place.
Gum is made from gum base which is a form of synthetic rubber. (Yum.) However, the softeners and sweeteners that make gum so delicious and chewy are all digestible.
Therefore when you chew a piece of gum, the saliva in your mouth gets to work digesting those flavors and leaves the gum base behind in all its flavorless and rubbery glory.
So there you have it. Gum is not food, but the flavors are. And that is the science behind your chewing obsession.