GUEST POST: As you well know, your digestive system responds to foods differently after weight loss surgery. Many people are often surprised to learn that this goes for minor treats that you wouldn’t think impact your diet at all—like chewing gum. However, chewing gum after weight loss surgery can result in a few uncomfortable and costly consequences.
A lot of people think that since the point of chewing gum is to chew thoroughly, the sweet or minty treat is a helpful way to promote weight loss. After all, if you are chewing gum then chances are you are not munching on other snacks too. For this reason, some weight loss doctors actually encourage their patients to chew gum if it helps them to break the habit of overeating, but your weight loss surgeon will likely not offer the same advice. While chewing gum might help some people avoid mindless snacking before weight loss surgery, it is not a recommended practice after your bariatric procedure.
The Chewing Gum Conundrum
Depending on who you ask, you are going to hear a few different reasons as to why chewing gum should be avoided. First of all, a lot of gum is packed with sugar. The sugar is bad for your teeth and even though you are not necessarily swallowing the entire piece of gum, the sugar breaks down as you chew and swallow the juices. The calories that you are consuming as a result do not offer any bit of nutrition, so it’s better not to waste any of your daily calorie allotment on such a small, unfulfilling snack.
Another problem that chewing gum poses is that since you are chewing and not actually eating anything, air escapes into your digestive tract. For weight loss surgery patients, this can prompt a whole lot of gas and discomfort. The gas is only likely to last a few hours, but that is a few hours of pain that you don’t need to subject yourself to. Chewing gum is also known to stimulate the appetite for some people, which could leave you feeling the need for further sustenance.
Some Alternatives worth Chewing Over
Have no fear. There are plenty of ways to battle bad breath without reaching for a pack of gum. Sugar free breath mints or mint strips that disintegrate in your mouth will alleviate any of the gas concerns that chewing gum produces. Carrying minted floss with you can also promote better breath without involving any digestion. If you want a more natural solution, try chewing on a fresh piece of mint instead of a piece of gum. You can easily grow mint in your backyard and one little mint leaf can freshen your breath and leave your mouth feeling fresh and clean without any of the unnatural side effects of chewing gum. Unlike gum, a mint leaf will naturally break down if you accidentally swallow it.
Feature courtesy of Bariatric Medicine Insititute www.bmiut.com