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Wrigleys Gum is not what it used to be

I am not a great gum chewer, but I do chew gum when I drive at night on the highway. The chewing action and the taste of the gum provide sensory stimuli that keep me from falling asleep at the wheel.

I recently bought some Wrigley's spearmint gum which has a nice refreshing taste, and looked at the ingredients. Big surprise! After buying a product for years, you develop brand loyalty and you keep buying the same thing because you know what it is. Or at least, you think you know.

Wrigley's and many other manufacturers have changed their chewing gum formulations and added artificial sweeteners like aspartame and acesulfame potassium (acesulfame K). I looked at a whole aisle of gums, including Eclipse which is also made by Wrigley, and Stride made by Cadbury Adams USA, LLC. I could not find a single pack of mint-flavored gum in the whole drugstore that did not have artificial sweeteners. I do not have much objection to acesulfame K, but I would rather avoid aspartame. Aspartame is considered safe in the small amounts needed for diet foods, but it leaves an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth.

Why are these artificial sweeteners added? Look at the ingredients of Wrigley's spearmint gum: sugar, gum base, dextrose, and corn syrup account for 98% of the ingredients. The sugar, dextrose, and corn syrup are all very sweet, but they dissolve very fast when the gum is chewed. The artificial sweeteners stay around and give a long-lasting sweet sensation. A stick of gum weighs 2.7 grams; sugars account for 2 grams (74% of the weight) and provide 10 calories.

Everything changes with time. Nothing is the way it used to be, and it is unlikely that things will go back to the way they were. I suppose that is progress, but I miss the gum with no artificial sweeteners. Maybe I will switch to carrots and celery sticks.

Learn how to read food labels

Comments »

Judi Womack said,
2010-04-16 @ 20:02:51

I was shocked to find acesulfame K in Wrigley's and sent them an e-mail, not only objecting but telling them I would no longer buy their products until they removed this ingredient. I did find a few packages of gum without acesulfame K: Adam's clove, Beeman's, and Teaberry. Of course, the sweet taste disappears very quickly. Greed is always at the bottom of everything. The sweet taste lasts with Wrigley's and they'll sell it.

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