What’s Inside Orbit White Gum?

This month’s WIRED, in their “What’s Inside” section (which always is a little scary) looked at Orbit White Gum. Here are some highlights:

Maltitol– a mild sweeteners that is a sugar alcohol, aka polyols, and is typically derived from natural carbs. The good: None of the normal unnatural taste of calorie-free sweeteners. They don’t cause spikes in blood-sugar level. And they won’t rot your teeth. The bad and the ugly: Well, their slow intestinal absorption can cause bloating, diarrhea, and flatulence.

Sorbitol – Another sugar alcohol. Do you have your pencil, calculator and abacus ready? A simple glucose molecule (C6H12O6) is broken apart and two extra hydrogen atoms are added (making C6H14O6). The result is about half as sweet as the original compound. Sorbitol can also be found in peaches, plums, and other fruit.

Gum Base – Apparently chewing gum used to be made from the sap of manilkara trees; now the chew often comes from styrene-butadiene, the same petrochemical used to make car tires. Yuck.

Glycerol – Yet another sugar alcohol. Glycerol is a clear, syrupy liquid, also used in pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Not to mention its ecofriendly. It is a byproduct of biodiesel production, so people are trying turn it into “green” antifreeze.

Aspartame – Ahhh, our old friend aspartame, we were wondering when you would appear. It is about 200 times more potent than sugar and is the calorie-free. A synthesis of two naturally occurring amino acids, it breaks down into small amounts of toxic chemicals like methanol and then formaldehyde in the body.

Acesulfame K – Yet ANOTHER calorie-free sweetener with a bitter aftertaste. Unlike aspartame, Ace K is totally artificial, so the body doesn’t even try to metabolize it. Gee, that must be good for you then…

Sodium Bicarbonate – Baking soda, plain and simple. Just like when it is in your toothpaste, it helps clean and whiten your teeth.


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