American Chemical Society

We Finally Know How Long Gum Actually Stays In Your System If You Swallow It

If you've ever chewed gum around anyone under the age of 12 years old, you've probably heard that thing about how if you swallow it, the gum will stay in your stomach for seven years.

That always seemed pretty far-fetched to me, but I never did any research. What do I look like, some kind of gum-chewing nerd? (JK, I love you, scientists. Please keep doing research for my benefit.)

So a small part of me has always been like,

You know, maybe gum really DOES stay in your system for seven years. What do I know?

And I'm not the only one who's unsure.

Well I guess this piece of gum will stay in my stomach for 7 years — Brianda (@Brianda72502426) May 18, 2016

Clearly, we all need to be educated.

As part of the video series "Reactions," the American Chemical Society investigated the seven-year gum myth.

I don't want to beat around the bush, so here's the truth. No, gum does not stay in your body for seven years if you swallow it.

See, THIS is why I have trust issues. Never believe a child!

As the video explains, gum is made up of four basic ingredients: sweetener, flavoring, softening/bulking agents and a rubber base.

It's the rubber part that people are concerned about because it doesn't break down the way normal food does in the stomach. This means gum does survive some of the process of digestion, which is where the myth likely came from.

But the fact is you eat many things you can only partially digest, so your body is used to it. It can easily move gum through your system and out of your body in a few days.

Citations: Playground myth: Gum will stay in your stomach for 7 years (Daily Mail)