Type-1 Diabetic Battles
Gum Chewing Addiction

I feel at times I am addicted to chewing gum. Now, you may laugh at this. Yet what is addiction but something you constantly reach for to help you get through the day (or, in my case, a day at dialysis).

This is the definition of addiction from Wikipedia:

Classic hallmarks of addiction include impaired control over substances or behavior, preoccupation with substance or behavior, continued use despite consequences, and denial.Habits and patterns associated with addiction are typically characterized by immediate gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs).

Gum helped me quit smoking many years ago (another habit which brings me shame). Today, chewing gum helps me stay away from sugar, nuts and chocolate (all of which make tight blood sugar control near impossible for a type-1 diabetic).

As I said it sounds laughable but it ain’t. If I don’t have gum I start to panic and get grumpy.

Yet isn’t it a harmless addiction?

The Good Side of Chewing Gum for Type-1 Diabetics

Chewing gum one hour after meals has been shown to help with gastroparesis (see chapter 22 of Diabetes Solution). That’s been my #1 excuse to keep on chewing. Chewing signals the stomach to dump it’s contents, so I don’t end up hypoglycemic after a meal.

And, of course, gum stops me from over eating or snacking on other foods that would really shoot my blood sugar up.

But gum has so many problems…

The Dark Side of Gum Chewing for a Type-1 Diabetic

First, how to find a gum that is even healthy for you?

Supermarkets offer nothing but gum containing artificial sweeteners like aspartame. The rest are all laden with high-fructose corn syrup made from genetically modified crops.

Health food store gums often contain alocohol sugars like mannitol or xylitol. Alcohol sugar can cause an  overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut. They may also raise your blood sugar more than cane sugar (it just does it slower).

There are stevia sweetened gums. Personally, I dislike the taste of stevia with a passion. Regardless, all the stevia gums I’ve seen also contain xylitol.

The Healthiest, Low-Carb Gum on the Market Today

I finally found some all natural chewing gum, Glee Gum, that contains only small amounts of cane sugar and rice syrup. Yes, it will cause a slight blood sugar rise, but nothing dramatic. At least it’s all natural.

I figure one day I will wean myself off of it but for now it’s the best thing going for me. Sometimes you have to choose between the two evils — two grams of sugar from all natural Glee Gum or 27 grams of sugar from a Klondike Krunch Ice Cream Bar with Crispy Pieces.

Glee Gum Gratification

Glee Gum provides me with lots of glee, that’s for sure. When we first got together, I couldn’t stop at one piece. No sir! I was addicted. My blood sugars went up way past my target of 5.5 mmol/L.

The cinnamon tastes like those red hearts you use to get as kid’s for Valentine’s Day. They also produce spearmint. peppermint. tangerine,  triple  berry and bubble gum.

Glee Gum is a great company – environmentally friendly, free-trade, all-natural and yummy.

Two pieces of Glee Gum contains only 2 grams of carb. If you don’t keep popping them like an addict,  your blood sugars won’t rise anything worth worrying about. Of course, stopping at one or two is the challenge.

You can purchase Glee Gum from Amazon.com.

About the Author: John C. A. Manley researches and writes about alternative treatments for type-1 diabetes and its many complications. His wife, Nicole, of 15 years has had type-1 diabetes for four decades. Together they have lowered her HgbA1c below 5.5%, regained thyroid function, increased kidney function and reversed gastroparesis. Read more about their journey out of the T1D matrix or subscribe to their Diabetic Dharma blog..