[Updated April 30, 2018]
Q: Why do I get gas and bloating from sugar-free gum?
Alicia Romano, MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian, Frances Stern Nutrition Center, Tufts Medical Center explains:
A:“The gas and bloating you experience when chewing sugar-free gum is not uncommon. For one thing, we naturally swallow a lot of air while chewing gum—sugar-free or not. Extra air swallowed can mean extra gas. But the main reason for bloating when you chew sugarless gum is the presence of sweeteners called sugar alcohols.
“Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that are slowly and incompletely absorbed in the body. They are found in a number of sugar-free products, including gum. The most common sugar alcohols you will likely see include xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol, maltitol and erythritol. Fermentation and incomplete digestion of these sweeteners in the large intestine (colon) lead to gas, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea. Everyone’s tolerance is different, and usually gas and bloating happens when you consume large quantities at one time.
“To identify sugar alcohols, review the ingredients and look for anything ending in “ol.” Take an inventory of all sugar-free foods in your diet and identify the sugar alcohols to estimate the total amount you are taking in.
“My suggestion would be to keep track of just how much gum per day you are chewing and perhaps start cutting back. You can also chew sugar-free gums that do not contain sugar alcohols. You do not have to ban these foods from your diet altogether, but it is worthwhile to find your personal threshold—whether that is a few pieces per day to a few pieces per week.”
Thanks So Much For The 411 On Sugar Free Gum. I Chew 4 Pieces Of Orbit Peppermint Gum At One Time And I Found Myself With Gas Problems All The Time. I Thought It Was The Peppermint Flavoring or Something Then I Called The Wrigley Company And Asked If There Was Anything In Their Orbit Gum That Caused Gas And They Said NO. I Knew There Was Something In There Because I Switched To Wintermint With The Same Results,That’s When I Googled The Subject And Found Your Article. Now I Know What I Have To Do To Alleviate The Problem. Again Thanks For Your Input.
Thanks for this very enlightening article! I think I found the culprit in my recent gas problem: started chewing Trident Sugarless Soft Sticks several times a day. Glad I know now that the “ol” ingredients…three in this product, first, third and fourth ingredients…are no good for me.
Will look for another product with this in mind and also limit my use of it.
Thanks for the information!
Try chewing just half of a stick to freshen breath. That will contain less of the artificial sweetner thats causing the gas.