Bursting Bubbles: One and a Half Bubble Gum Myths

For some unknown reason, maybe (probably) because we had just bought three packs of chewing gum, I decided the Grafrath family was going to have a bubble blowing contest. Each pack had 10 pieces and there were three packs, making a total of 30 pieces to divide amongst the six Grafraths, so each of us got 5 pieces of Sugar-Free Bubble Yum.

What a great opportunity for some interesting photography, and maybe we’ll learn something new along the way!

The five pieces of gum that were waiting for me to chew.

Every week the Grafraths have what we call our “family  meeting”. It is held every Sunday night around 7. We wrap up our week, each of us pick the “best” thing from the week and the “worst”, and we discuss miscellaneous things that happened. Key points are written down in a journal that is kept for posterity.

After the meeting, we play a family game. On this particular week, I thought I’d let my girls do something they have never been allowed to do before: shove five pieces of gum into their mouths and try to blow a huge bubble! We usually limit them to one piece of gum, though with some of the smaller pieces of gum we might bump it up to two. This was an exciting prospect for my girls and before I was back from retrieving my camera to record this adventure, they had already put the gum in their mouths.

Jude, in her first attempt to blow a bubble for the camera, started off a bit small.

In this week’s post we’re going to take a look at some myths about bubble gum, but first, a bit of gum history. Chewing gum goes back thousands of years: a 5,000 year old piece of gum made from bark tar was found in Finland. From Aztecs to Greeks, people chewed it to freshen their breath and for supposed medicinal purposes. Bubble gum was invented by Walter Diemer in 1928 and was named “Dubble Bubble”. Diemer taught salespeople how to blow bubbles in order to share this habit-forming activity with potential customers.

Scout decided she only wanted two and a half pieces of gum. Five was too much for her.

Now, on to the myths!

Don’t burst my bubble! Photo taken by Zoë

Don’t Swallow Gum or 7 Years of Bad Luck!

Despite the Ol’ Wives’ Tale, bubble gum will NOT stay in your stomach for 7 years if swallowed. Though the gum stays mostly intact through digestion, that doesn’t mean that it hangs around in your stomach until it has been dissolved. In the end, all things must pass, and it does.

Briar tries her bubble skills out for the camera. Not too shabby!

I’m sure the 7-year-gum-in-your-guts story was concocted by parents to discourage their children from swallowing gum because it could be a choking hazard, they thought there was no way the body could digest such blobs, and it just seems wrong. I think it’s also become a warning passed from child-to-child in order to freak each other out. Whatever the history behind the origin of this myth, I know I’ve heard it from both parents and kids.

Don’t get me wrong, gum can be dangerous if swallowed. Besides being a chocking hazard, habitual gum swallowing can lead to build-up and blockages. It’s best not to swallow gum, but don’t freak out your kids by saying it’s going to be in their little bodies for 7 years; that’s completely unnecessary. Tell your kids not to swallow gum because it’s the rule, and that should be enough. If your kid swallows gum once in a while, no problem, but if they’re doing it every day then maybe they shouldn’t get it anymore.

Chewing Gum Makes You Lose Weight! (Half Myth/Half Truth)

Rob burst my bubble! Darn. Picture taken by Zoë.

Will chewing gum actually make you lose weight? Well, it’s sort of a sticky situation. If you are just talking about the gum itself, then the answer is no. Nothing can replace a healthy diet, exercise, and healthy living when it comes to losing weight. On the other hand, according to WebMD, chewing gum may help you curb cravings. Consider gum a tiny tool in the arsenal of weight loss. Chewing gum won’t hurt your diet, and it may help you consume 40-60 fewer calories (just be sure it’s sugar-free). In no way should chewing gum replace healthy eating habits, but it can help you make good choices. You can also find weight loss supplements at that can improve your metabolism and regulate your appetite efficiently. Rob’s philosophy is that if he’s chewing gum then he’s not going to put food in his mouth, so it helps him eat less. His favorite is Extra’s apple pie gum.

Too Many Myths/Truths to Verify

Unfortunately, my myth-busting has to stop here. I know I was only able to cover one and a half gum myths, but there are so many contradictory articles on gum; anything from gum causes wrinkles to gum reduces wrinkles, from health benefits to health risks. There is just too much information and there are too many opinions out there for me to pinpoint specific truths versus myths.

Chew gum and you’ll be fine, don’t chew gum and you’ll be fine. Overall, it seems that it’s really not that big of deal in the scheme of things.

Caught Zoë’s mid-pop!

Oh, yes, one more thing. Who won the bubble blowing contest? Rob did, and it was indeed a massive bubble:

He kicked ass and chewed bubble gum.

Gigi Chickee

All photos are taken by me, Gigi Chickee, unless otherwise noted. Photography Correspondent here at Mad Art Lab. Wife to my gorgeous husband, Rob. Mother to my four girls. Proud Secular Homeschooler. Photographer when the occasion arises. Seamstress in training. Skeptic always. Follow me and my musings on Twitter: @gigichickee

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