SweetPoison Newsletter - July 2003

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/ July Article 2003

July Issue:

July 2003

Publisher: Dr. Janet Starr Hull, Ph.D., CN
By subscription only.


I receive many emails each week asking about the health
effects of sugarless gum, so I decided to dedicate July's Healthy
Newsletter to 'gum.' Even if you don't chew gum, it is interesting
to learn about America's multi-billion dollar need to chew. You'll
be surprised at what's behind chewing gum - especially sugarless

I have also added a new section to The Healthy Newsletter - a
Monthly Healthy Recipe. If you have a healthy recipe you want
to share, please send it in.

Wishing you the best.

To your health!
Dr. Janet Starr Hull, Ph.D., CN


=> America's Need To Chew
=> How Wrigley Makes Gum
=> Xylitol - A Better Alternative To Sugarless Gum?
=> Did You Know?
=> Q & A with Dr. Hull
=> This Month's Healthy Recipe
=> SafetyAlerts/Government Recalls

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People have enjoyed chewing gum-like substances in many
lands for centuries. Most of the original gum materials were
merely thickened resin and latex from certain trees. Others
were various sweet grasses, leaves, grains and waxes.

For centuries the ancient Greeks chewed mastic gum or
mastiche pronounced "mas-tee-ka". This is resin from the bark
of the mastic tree, a shrub-like tree found mainly in Greece
and Turkey. Grecian women favored mastic gum to clean their
teeth and sweeten their breath.

American colonists learned from the Indians of New England
how to chew the gum-like resin that formed on spruce trees
when the bark was cut. Lumps of spruce gum were sold in the
eastern United States during the early 1800s, making it the first
commercial 'chewing gum' in America. Around 1850, sweetened
paraffin wax became popular and eventually surpassed spruce
gum in popularity.

After being defeated by Texas in 1845, Mexican General Santa
Anna was exiled to New York. Like many of his countrymen,
Santa Anna chewed chicle. One day he introduced chicle to New
York inventor Thomas Adams, who began experimenting with it
as a possible substitute for rubber. Adams tried to make toys,
masks, and rain boots out of chicle, but every experiment failed.

Sitting in his workshop one day, tired and discouraged, he
popped a piece of surplus stock into his mouth. Chewing away,
the idea suddenly hit him to add flavoring to the chicle. Shortly,
he opened the world's first chewing gum factory. Gum made
with chicle and similar latexes soon won favor over spruce gum
and paraffin gum. It made a smooth, springy, satisfying chew
that the others lacked, and it held its flavor longer. By the early
1900s, with improved methods of manufacturing, packaging and
marketing, modern chewing gum was well on its way to its
current popularity.

Why do humans like to 'chew' so much? Quite literally, say
psychologists, the process begins in infancy from suckling for
milk to the soothing pacifier. Older children like to chew on blades
of grass and straw, even pencils and rubber bands at school.

Chewers say gum helps clean their teeth. They also like the way
it freshens their breath. And, of course, gum is fun to chew, it
tastes good, and contains only a few calories for the weight
conscious. Chewing is a natural and healthy exercise for
strengthening the jaw and stimulating circulation to the gums.
Chewing relaxes and eases tension, can help you stay alert and
awake, moistens the mouth which stimulates digestion, helps
some people concentrate, helps resist the urge to smoke,
reduces ear discomfort when flying, satisfies snack cravings,
and cleans your teeth after meals.

The urge to chew was probably as strong in prehistoric man
as it is today. Primitive human beings chewed on grass, berries
and trees. The first records that mention 'chewing' date from
early civilizations in both the Eastern and Western cultures.
Most indigenous people today chew on bark and tree rubbers
to exercise their jaws and keep their teeth healthy.

In Greece and the Middle East, people have chewed mastic gum
for many centuries. Dioscorides, a Greek medicine man,
pioneered the use of powdered mastiche as medicine around
50 A.D. Mastiche has been used for this purpose on the island
of Chios ever since.

In Central America, the ancient Mayans, like the ancient Greeks,
chewed resin from trees. This resin was the first to be called
chicle and it formed the basis for our story about modern
chewing gum.

In 1879, gum was extracted from the balsam tree and flavored
with powdered sugar. At this time, Dr. Edward E. Beeman
turned his medical skills toward the manufacturing of a pepsin
powder as an aid to digestion. One day his bookkeeper, Nellie
Horton, suggested that he put the pepsin into gum "since so
many people buy pepsin for digestion and gum for no reason at
all." So, he blended his pepsin compound with chicle. He then
took the picture of a pig that had graced the bottles of his pepsin
compound, and put it on the wrapper of his new gum, stating:
"With pepsin, you can eat like a pig." It sold well, but it did even
better after a financier reorganized the Beeman Company and
replaced the pig on the wrapper with Dr. Beeman's bearded face.

The popular peppermint flavor arrived on the gum scene around
1880 by William J. White, a popcorn salesman from Cleveland,
Ohio. A neighboring grocer had received a barrel of chicle instead
of the ordered barrel of nuts and gave it to White, who began
experimenting with it in his home. He soon discovered how to
solve the problem of how to keep flavor in gum. Since chicle
itself would not absorb flavors, White turned his focus to sugar,
which would absorb flavors. He found that by combining flavors
with corn syrup, any flavor could be obtained. The syrup blended
instantly with chicle.

White decided on his favorite peppermint flavor. His gum,
eventually named Yucatan, became a smash hit.
(http://www.pfizer.com/mn_copyright.html) Cinnamon, spearmint
and peppermint are among the most popular flavors of chewing
gum today.

This rediscovery of what the Mayans had known over one
thousand years earlier revolutionized the manufacturing
of chewing gum.

Other trees also contribute or have contributed their latex to
the chewing gum industry. Some of the latex used is leche,
caspi and sorva, found in the Amazon Valley; nispero and tunu,
from Central America; and jelutong, found in
Indonesia, Malaya, and British Borneo. Refined pine tree resins
from our own Southeast coastal states have also been used as
gum ingredients.

Man-made resins and waxes are used to greater degrees today
as the search continues for an even more enjoyable chew. Chicle
is still produced commercially from the red and white Sapodilla
trees that grow in the rain forests of Central and South America.
These trees, concentrated most heavily in the Yucatan Peninsula,
frequently reach heights of 100 feet or more, and develop with
great hardness and density. The Sapodillas (Achras Sapota) are
not tapped for their latex until they are at least 20 to 25 years old.
Each tapping, made with a series of cross cuts leading to a center
channel in the form of a herringbone, yields only 2 1/2 pounds of
gum over a period of six hours. Trees are tapped only once every
three to four years.

Although chicle and other natural gums are still utilized by the
chewing gum industry, most modern gums are made from man-
made materials and contain corn syrup, sugar, chemical sugar
substitutes, artificial food colorings and flavoring agents added to
the gum base in the gum-making process.

The problem with modern-day chewing gum is that gum is not
what it used to be - or should be. Gum is now sated with unhealthy
man-made chemicals and is shaped so small, it does little to no
good exercising the jaw. Modernized chewing gum is no longer the
healthy answer for human's instinctive need to chew, and with the
addition of aspartame and other chemical sugar substitutes saturating
both regular and sugar-free gums, gum today can be hazardous to
your health. Search for an original gum to chew instead of the
assembly-line variety. Browse the Internet, health food stores and
coops for natural gums available.

The best advice: plant your own balsam tree.


In making chewing gum, the Wrigley Company strives for three
1. a smooth, even chew
2. a delicious, long-lasting flavor
3. dependable, uniform quality

All ingredients and wrapping materials are inspected when they
arrive at the factories. Before any shipment is accepted, samples
are taken and tested in modern quality assurance laboratories.

Manufacturing takes place in spotless air-conditioned rooms and
is closely monitored to meet the company's high standards of
quality. The process begins with the grinding of base materials.

Next, the base is melted and purified through high-speed centrifuges
and filter machines.
Then, still hot, the base goes to the mixers, each of which can hold
up to one ton of ingredients.

After the gum base is poured into the mixer, sweeteners and flavors
are added at just the right moment and in just the right amounts.
These ingredients are then mixed slowly for the exact amount of
time required by the formula. At this point, the gum looks like stiff
bread dough.

From the mixers, the gum is sent through a series of rollers that
form it into a thin, wide ribbon. Each pair of rollers is set closer
together than the previous pair, gradually reducing the thickness
of the gum. A light coating of finely powdered sugar or chemical
sugar substitute is added to keep the gum from sticking and to
enhance the flavor.

The continuous ribbon of gum is then scored in a pattern of single

The gum is allowed to cool. The temperature and humidity are
carefully controlled to make sure the finished gum will stay fresh on
store shelves for an extended period of time.

The packaging materials are vital in protecting the freshness of
Wrigley's gum. In one continuous process, the wrapping machine
receives and wraps the sticks, applies the outer wrapper, and seals
the ends of each package. Most of the wrapping machines were
designed and built by Wrigley engineers and machinists, and each is
made up of approximately 6,000 moving parts.

The packages are automatically packed into boxes or clear plastic
bags that move on conveyor belts for final inspection. Boxes are
wrapped with a clear covering and both boxes and bags are packed
into shipping cases. Wrigley's gum is then shipped to hundreds of
thousands of stores and other retail outlets all over the world.

Thanks to the Wrigley Company for these details.


Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener that is found in raspberries,
strawberries, and plums, corn, endive, and mushrooms. The human
body produces xylitol in its daily metabolic processes. Xylitol is
manufactured by extracting xylan from birch wood or corn cobs, and
reacting it with water to produce xylose or "wood sugar." Hydrogen
(H2) is then added to make 'Xylitol.'

Where and when was xylitol discovered?

The wood sugar xylose was first hydrogenated to produce xylitol in
1891 by the German chemist Emil Fischer. Xylitol has been used since
the 1960s in the Soviet Union, Germany, Switzerland and Japan as the
preferred sweetener for diabetics. Xylitol is also used intravenously for
patients with impaired glucose tolerance, i.e. for trauma, burns, and in
diabetic and insulin resistance. Xylitol's dental benefits were first
studied in Finland. In the early 1970s, researchers at Turku University
showed xylitol could prevent dental caries.

How is Xylitol different than other sweeteners?

Xylitol is a "sugar alcohol." Chemically, sucrose (sugar), fructose,
sorbitol and glucose all have six carbon atoms in their molecules.
Xylitol has five carbon atoms in its molecule. Six carbon molecules can
be easily digested by oral bacteria but a five-carbon molecule has
strong chemical bonds that are very difficult for bacteria to digest. So
when xylitol is consumed, these bacteria populations starve out and
decline. This is one way xylitol helps prevent plaque and cavities and
why it is a better choice for sugarless gums.

Xylitol has the same sweetness as sugar but with 40% less calories.
Xylitol's functional properties are similar to sugar; it dissolves slower at
cold temperatures but faster than sugar above 86 degrees F. (http://www.xylipro.com/faq.html)

So, is xylitol a better sugar-free choice for a sweetener, especially in
chewing gum? Probably, but all in all, you are better off with the real
thing - using no sugar or natural unprocessed sugar whenever possible.
Especially for children.


* During WWII, U.S. military personnel spread the popularity
of chewing gum by trading it and giving it as gifts to people in
Europe, Africa, Asia, and around the world.

* Why is bubble gum pink? The color of the first successful
bubble gum was pink because it was the only color the inventor
had left. The color "stuck" and today bubble gum is still predominantly

* Can you really remove gum from your hair with peanut butter?
It has been proven that if you knead a small amount of peanut butter
between your fingers and the gum, the gum will break apart enough
to remove it.

* North American kids spend approximately half a billion dollars on
bubble gum every year.

* UK gives green light for new sweetener. The UK Food Standards
Agency (FSA) announced this week new regulations giving a two-year
temporary national authorization to market a new sweetener - 'salt of
aspartame-acesulfame' - a chemical combination of two already
permitted sweeteners, aspartame and acesulfame K at an equivalent
mixture of 1:1.

The FSA also revealed that parallel regulations have been prepared
in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


To: jshull@sweetpoison.com
Subject: 15 sticks a day

Q: I quit smoking a little over 2 years ago. I switched my habit to
chewing gum. I bought "Orbit" gum which has in my view a lot of
aspartame in it. I was chewing about 15 pieces a day. About a month
ago I thought I was loosing my mind. I have never been so scared
in my life. I am still struggling to get back to being my old self.

My life became flipped upside down. I have always been a happy
person, enjoyed life, and loved my career. I could not understand
what was happening to me. I woke up and knew something was wrong
with me. I felt like I was in a cloud, my right eye was getting blurry,
with floaters. I felt so depressed, like I did not exist. My dreams of life
were gone, nothing seemed real. I went to work, and felt like screaming
and crying all at the same time. What the heck was going on with me???
I went home and started to cry. My wife is very understanding,
Thank God.

I went to bed and stayed there for two days. That same day,
I had just chewed four pieces of sugarless gum. I had been
chewing it for the last 1.5 to 2 years. Everyday, about 15 pieces.
Terrible habit I had created. Glad to be off smoking cigarettes, but
now I had created the habit of chewing gum. I prayed to God to
help me. I read the ingredients on the gum and found the word
aspartame. I did an Internet search on it and was surprised by what
I saw. Could this be what was happening to me? It had to be. How
could I go from being sane to feeling like I was loosing my mind?
I have not had any aspartame since that day a month ago; I am
hoping that the 60 days will help get it out of my body. I just want
to get back to my normal state of mind. Today I feel, 65% better.

Janet, will this go away? I am praying that it does. I feel so alone on
this, but talking to you has helped me find hope. I look forward to
reading all of your book. I am taking a men's one a day vitamin. I
hope that helps to replenish what was damaged in my body. The last
two days, I felt incredibly better, almost to my old self. Thanks for your
help on the matter, and God bless you Janet. Any info would be greatly

A: Scary, isn't it? Aspartame is very toxic, and it affects people
differently, but you seem to have had a somewhat common reaction.
Slowly chewing the poison day after day caught up with you. I am
sorry you are having adverse effects, but this should get better with time.
I suggest getting on a good vitamin routine to restore whatever nutrients
the aspartame by-products destroyed. A detox program and liver cleanse
would be a good idea, too.

Removing the toxin, cleaning the body, and replacing the damage done
is the best way to return to your normal state of health. You might enjoy
both of my books, as they go into fine detail on aspartame and how to
recover from it.

So glad you discovered what was making you ill. Remember, aspartame
was discovered in the 1960s as an ulcer medication. All this time, you've
been chewing on medicine for ulcers! No wonder you felt bad ...

Wishing you the best.


To: jshull@sweetpoison.com
Subject: mom warned me

Q. I am so glad to read your article about the dangers of aspartame. My
mom warned me about not using aspartame but I didn't really believe until
I read your site. I'm now convinced because it all makes sense now. I'm
young but have been chewing aspartame gum for years, and lately I've
experienced knee joint problems, dizziness, loss of balance & frequent
headaches, moodiness, feeling sick.

I never thought it could be traced to aspartame! Who would guess the
stores could sell such "sweet poison" to people & kids! Thanks for your
site to educate us all.

** Is there a safe mint-CANDY & GUM in the market that I can still
consume? I like it for fresh breath! The only gum I could find without
aspartame is DENTYNE CINNIMON (its got sugar, mannitol, sobitol, etc...
I don't know if these sweeteners are safe either). I chew about 10 sticks
a day. Most mint candies have aspartame too.

A: These are all side effects of aspartame. Ugh. You didn't stop a moment
too soon. Check all labels, though, as aspartame is in gums, mints, all
kinds of foods that are not labeled sugar-free like DoubleMint gum.

Dentyne is about the only safe gum anymore at 'general' stores. What
a racket, huh? For the sake of your teeth, I'd try to cut back on so much
gum , though. Try some tea tree toothpicks to suck on from the health
food store. They really freshen your mouth. Also, there are all-natural
gums from health food stores that taste fine.

Thank you for getting off the stuff. Young people have so much ahead
of them, and it's a shame to start battling illness at such a young age.
Good for you. Be cautious from now on as foods aren't getting better,
only more polluted.

Wishing you the best.


To: jshull@sweetpoison.com
Subject: stomach problems from sugarless gum

Q: A few weeks ago, I started chewing Orbit gum which has
aspartame in it. Shortly afterwards I began to have abdominal pain,
diarrhea, a sense of nausea and rare headaches. I wondered if it
was the gum. I have stopped chewing it and started to feel better.
I still don't know if this is exactly it, so I did a web search and found
your site. Hmm...Could be it, huh? I am almost symptom free since I
stopped chewing the gum.
Thanks for your informative web site. I will share the news.

A: You are the third person today to email me about Orbit gum. You
are not alone!!

Aspartame was discovered in the 1960s as an ulcer medication. All
this time, you've been chewing a medicine for ulcers. Many people get
stomach cramping and diarrhea because of this. Glad you put two and
two together and are already feeling better.

To Your Health,
Dr. Janet Hull

A Favorite Summer Salad

8 oz baby spinach leaves
1 medium tomato
1 avocado
2 stalks of celery
1 carrot
1 small cucumber
Any other veggies you have handy.
Lemon juice and cold-pressed olive oil for dressing .

Tastes good and makes you feel great. Eat for your health!!

From: Dr Young's Alkalarian food choice guidelines.


Productos Real Has Recalled "Real Guacamole"
Reason: Because it has the potential to be contaminated with
Listeria monocytogenes.
Distribution: West Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.


Fresh Express Has Recalled Hearts of Romaine
Reason: Because it has the potential to be contaminated
with Listeria monocytogenes.
Distribution: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado,
Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,
Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington,
Wisconsin, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario.
Alabama Firm Has Recalled Chicken
Reason: Chicken that may contain glass.
Distribution: Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina and South


Fisher-Price Has Recalled Crib Mobile Toys
Reason: If batteries used in the mobile leak, the caustic liquid
can seep out of the battery compartment.
Distribution: Nationwide.


Health Nutrition (RMA Labs) Has Recalled Viga
Reason: These products which are being marketed as a dietary
supplement contains the unlabeled drug ingredient sildenafil.
Distribution: Undetermined.


Mead Johnson Nutritionals Has Recalled EnfaCare(r) LIPIL(r) Infant
Formula Powder
Reason: Because the product is contaminated with Enterobacter
sakazakii (E. sakazakii).
Distribution: Nationwide.


A.H. Robins Has Recalled Premphase Tablets
Reason: Dissolution; failure to meet specifications at the 24 month/
2-hour timepoint.
Distribution: Nationwide.


Purdue Frederic Has Recalled Senokot-S Tablets
Reason: Mislabeled; Labeling does not indicate
dosage instructions for children under 2 years of age.
Distribution: Nationwide.


Astra Zeneca Has Recalled Pulmicort Turbuhaler
Reason: Fine particle size out of specification; patient may
not receive full dose to lungs.
Distribution: Nationwide.


Schering Corp Has Recalled Drugs
Reason: Lack of assurance of sterility.
Distribution: Nationwide and Caribbean islands: Bahamas,
Curacao, Trinidad, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Aruba.


Ott Food Products Has Recalled Dressings
Reason: Steak House and Frontier Ranch Dressings contain
undeclared monosodium glutamate. Italian Salad Dressings are
labeled as containing hydrolyzed vegetable protein but do not
list the source of the protein (soy).
Distribution: KS, NE, OK, MO, IL, UT, IA, and SD.


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Copyright 2003 - SweetPoison.com
Publisher: Dr. Janet Starr Hull, PhD, CN




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