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更新时间:2014-1-23 13:51:11 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Is Chewing Gum Bad For You?

People have been chewing gum since the ancient Greeks peeled bark from mastic trees and used it as a breath sweetener. Today, the sticky stuff is consumed for so many more reasons -- to try to stave off hunger, deliver nicotine or simply provide diversion. But is smacking on a wad of gum actually harmful to the body? J. Sumner Bell, secretary-treasurer of the American Gastroenterological Association, offers an opinion.

The Brain Game

The moment a person unwraps a piece of gum and tosses it into his mouth, the brain is alerted that the digestive process is about to begin. During what's called the cephalic stage, the body anticipates oncoming food and releases saliva to help masticate the substance, then gastric, pancreatic and biliary fluids surge to further break it down. Because no real substance is ever delivered, some argue that gum-chewing can trick the system, upsetting the stomach by throwing off its acidity.

There is another way in which chewing gum might lead to tummy trouble. 'The salivary glands produce a bicarbonate-rich fluid, which would likely buffer some of the gastric acid,' notes Dr. Bell, who is a gastroenterologist in private practice in Virginia Beach, Va. 'The bloating, gas and discomfort occasionally reported after chewing gum throughout the day is more likely from air intake, not acid.'

Dr. Bell says he has patients who chew gum to help soothe acid reflux, though he doesn't generally recommend it. 'If the gum is flavored with peppermint, that can relax the esophageal sphincter, which may promote reflux,' he says.

Swallowing gum doesn't cause cramping and reflux, because there are minor peaks of gastric, pancreatic and biliary secretion in the periods between meals, when intestinal housekeeping takes place, Dr. Bell says. 'During that time, any gum would get swept up and flushed out. That process takes hours, not the mythical seven years.'

Sugar vs. Sorbitol

Doctors often advise patients to avoid sugary gum, because it can pull out tooth fillings and lead to cavities. But sugar-free gum has drawbacks, too, says Dr. Bell. Sorbitol, which also can be used to give gum sweetness, is a non-absorbable carbohydrate that in large doses can lead to GI problems.

A good analogy is lactose intolerance, says Dr. Bell: In a person lacking the small-intestinal enzyme that breaks down lactose, it will tumble through the intestines until it meets bacteria, which will ferment the sugar, releasing volatile gasses that can cause cramps, gas and even diarrhea.

'Sorbitol works the same way. There is individual tolerance, but if I have a patient who is having a difficult time with excessive gas, I will ask to look in her purse,' he says. 'Every now and then I'll find it full of gum.'

Hunger Games

Studies haven't successfully proven that gum can stave off hunger and lead to weight loss -- despite various gum-industry claims. In some people, the perceived sensation of satiety associated with gum-chewing may hold them over until meal time. But because chewing gum jump-starts the digestive process, it may in fact increase hunger. Just like seeing, smelling or tasting food, chewing gum 'can stimulate the secretion of salivary and gastric juices and may increase hunger as we anticipate food,' Dr. Bell says.

People with mild jaw issues often complain that gum-smacking exacerbates the clicking and discomfort of even mild temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, which can cause tightness of the jaw muscles. New studies have linked the chewing of any type of gum with migraine headaches in adolescents.

Researchers, however, have found a benefit: Recent studies have shown that chewing gum during a task can increase cognitive function. 'When I play golf, I find that chewing gum helps me concentrate and play a little bit better,' Dr. Bell says. 'Part of my pre-golf routine is to see that I have a pack of sugar-free gum in my bag -- though my wife thinks I'm reading too much into this.'

When to Chew

For those who really want to chew, Dr. Bell recommends trying sugarless gum after a meal. The saliva it helps to produce will clean the teeth, and the minty or fruity flavor will sweeten the breath and possibly satisfy a sweet tooth, Dr. Bell says. But it won't do much to advance digestion. 'There is no evidence that I know of that proves that chewing gum helps the digestive process,' Dr. Bell says.

人类从古希腊时期就开始嚼口香糖了,当时人们会剥取乳香树的树皮作为口气清新剂。如今,人们之所以吃这种黏黏的东西还有许多其他原因——消除 饿感,摄入尼古丁或者就是作为消遣。但有人说嚼口香糖其实对身体有害,这是真的吗?以下是美国胃肠病协会(American Gastroenterological Association)秘书-司库、弗吉尼亚州弗吉尼亚比奇(Virginia Beach)私人执业的胃肠病医生J·萨姆纳·贝尔(J. Sumner Bell)的观点。



嚼口香糖可能引起胃部不适还有另外一个原因。弗吉尼亚州弗吉尼亚比奇(Virginia Beach)私人执业的胃肠病医生贝尔指出:“唾液腺产生一种富含碳酸氢盐的液体,这种液体或能中和部分胃酸。有时在嚼一整天口香糖后出现的腹胀、放屁和不适可能更多要归因于吸入的空气,而不是胃酸。”






口香糖能抑制 饿吗?

并没有什么研究成功地证明口香糖能抑制 饿并有助于减轻体重——尽管口香糖行业有种种相关说法。对一些人来说,这种由咀嚼口香糖带来的饱腹感可能会让他们等到饭点再吃东西。但由于嚼口香糖会启动消化进程, 饿感其实有可能会加重。贝尔医生称,与看、闻或品尝食物一样,嚼口香糖“能刺激唾液和胃酸分泌,并有可能加重 饿感,因为我们期待食物的摄入”。