Teens like to pop a gum to freshen up their breath as well as to enhance the taste. But before eating that gooey little thing, do we think what this gum really contains? Who knows you might be eating sheep’s wool in the form of chewing gum! Yes, that’s right! Here in this post, we’re going to tell you what you favourite chewing gum is made up of. Don’t fret!
The findings have revealed that chewing gum contains lanolin, which is the waxy secretion from the sebaceous glands of a sheep! This compound waterproofs sheep’s wool. This is the reason why lanolin find place in most of the skin products’ ingredient list. But did you know it is being used in making chewing gum?
Lanolin adds the rubbery texture to the chewing gum. Manufacturers don’t reveal the original ingredients used to make the gum. Therefore, your cute pinky chewing might not be as sweet as you think.
The ingredients involved in manufacture of chewing gum are Gum Base, Softeners, Sweeteners and Flavors.
Gum Base: As indicated above, the gum base is rubbery in nature, and used to be derived from latex sap (called chicle) of the sapodilla tree. Other natural sources includegum Arabic, natural resin, food grade agar, Chiku, Ghatti, Jhingan, Khair etc.
However, nowadays, with the advent of rubber synthesis technology, synthetic rubber is primarily used for making the gum base. These include:
- Synthetic resin
- Polyvinyl acetate
- Glycerol esters of wood resin/gum resin
- Glycerol esters of partially hydrogenated wood/gum resin
As has been indicated above, there are many components of gum base (besides lanolin) that remain unknown to the consumer, since the manufacturers have no intention to declare them, in the absence of any strict regulations forcing them to do so.
Softeners: As the name suggests, the primary function of this component is to maintain a "soft" consistency of the gum so that it is appealing to the consumers. This component helps to retain moisture and prevent the gum from hardening. The most common softeners are glycerin and vegetable oil.
Sweeteners: As you have probably guessed, the most common sweetener is sugar. Sometimes, corn syrup is also used. For the health conscious, the following artificial sweeteners are also used:
- Saccharin sodium
- Aspartame (methyl ester)
- Acesulfame potassium
Flavours: The flavor component of chewing gum is usually added last and imparts a long-lasting, refreshing, and zingy taste to the chewing gum. Some of the exciting flavors include the following:
Mint flavored chewing gums
Fruit flavored chewing gums