Chewing gum is an immensely popular product, available in numerous varieties on the market and highly addictive substance.
Chewing gum is typically composed of several ingredients. These include gum base, softeners and sweeteners; gum base is typically composed of rubbery material derived from chicle sap from sapodilla trees that was initially called chicle latex sap.
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Gelatin is a protein-based ingredient widely used in foods and products, including chewing gum. As an effective gelling agent, gelatin adds texture to foods, and can even be found as part of pharmaceutical capsules and in some cosmetic items. Gelatin is made from animal skin, bones and cartilage extracted from animals such as pigs and cows; however it can also come from fish scales and chicken skin. Unfortunately these animals must endure immense physical and emotional suffering on factory farms before their body parts can be used for manufacturing this substance. Gelatin is a versatile ingredient often used in candies, jelly desserts, jello, and marshmallows, as well as soups, broths and ice cream. Derived from collagen – a fibrous protein which bonds other proteins to form gels – gelatin can be extracted by boiling animal bones, skin and cartilage in order to extract its collagen content.
Commercial gelatin comes in sheets, granules and powder forms. Sheet gelatin is popular with professional chefs because of its slow dissolve time and pure flavor; granules and powder forms dissolve easier due to being smaller particles. Gelatin comes with different strengths (which measures how quickly protein melts when placed in cold environments); thus increasing bloom strength results in faster gelatin dissolving and setting.
Kosher gelatin is considered to be the highest quality version, as its raw materials have been carefully chosen to meet stringent quality standards. While vegetarian and vegan versions exist, they don’t meet regulatory agency food safety requirements and thus shouldn’t be consumed as often.
Gelatin is a byproduct of both meat and leather industries, yet still contributes to factory farms’ system of extreme cruelty and torture. Gelatin production causes immense mental and physical suffering for animals that die for its production; even though this industry appears harmless at first glance. Instead, there are great plant-based alternatives which offer similar texture and flavor without contributing to factory farm cruelty.
Stearic acid, an 18-carbon fatty acid, can be found both in animal fats and some vegetable oils, such as palm, coconut, castor, herring, olive, soybean sunflower peanut oil. Furthermore, some lubricating creams and soaps also contain Stearic acid as a component. (1)
Human studies have established stearic acid as non-toxic at concentrations up to 300 mg/kg body weight(2); single intraperitoneal doses up to 500 mg/kg caused no deaths(3) and it possesses a low BCF (Biological Concentration Factor) value in fish, suggesting it does not accumulate in aquatic ecosystems(4).
Emollients like petrolatum can be found in numerous cosmetic products like lipsticks, hairsprays and shaving gels, helping to soften skin after shaving (5,6). Furthermore, these ingredients serve as good skin protectants and moisturizers, degreasing pores to prevent formation of blackheads or whiteheads, as well as inhibit bacterial growth(6).
Though stearic acid is typically safe for the skin, it may still cause discomfort for some individuals. Direct contact with eyes can result in redness and itching; to minimize this risk it is wise to keep out of direct eye contact. Furthermore, using high concentrations may irritate skin; to avoid this happening it would be prudent to reduce frequency or dilute with water before applying directly onto skin.
Chewing gum is composed of an “gum base,” along with flavoring, food coloring, and preservatives. The exact composition of these bases varies widely depending on their manufacturer; older chewing gum bases were often composed of latexes from tropical plants like chicle, caspi, jelutong or tunu, or natural gums like chicle spruce gum or mastic gum; while modern versions often utilize synthetic food-grade rubbers and plastics like butadiene-styrene/polyethylene as well as polyvinyl acetate as main components.
Lard is a type of pork fat widely used as a cooking and baking fat, offering rich texture with light flaky quality when baked goods need an airy quality. Lard fell out of favor due to hydrogenated vegetable shortening’s popularity but has recently made a comeback as it provides healthier alternative for clogged arteries and high cholesterol levels.
Lard is made by rendering fat from other parts of a pig’s body in an extraction process called rendering, using either wet or dry methods, with different portions yielding fat with differing qualities – for instance leaf fat is often considered best for baking due to its milder flavor and paler color than back fat which has stronger porky notes suited for frying purposes.
Steaming or boiling pig fat to render lard is one of the easiest and simplest methods for turning it into this versatile product, making the fat water-soluble enough to rise to the top and be easily skimmed off, or it can even be made into products such as cured pork fat (lardo) which can be spread onto bread for snacking purposes.
Grocery stores carry processed lard that has been stabilized to make it shelf-stable, often found in the baking aisle with other shortenings and cooking oils. You may be able to purchase fresh or homemade lard from local butchers; or render it yourself. Although home rendering may take more time and effort than purchasing an industrially processed version, homemade lard may contain less preservatives and chemicals added for preservation, as well as being produced from locally raised pigs compared with commercial versions.
Sugar is an indispensable ingredient in chewing gum, used to sweeten its texture and flavor while providing its signature sweetness. Many people also turn to sugar to help their teeth and gums stay healthy as the sticky nature of chewing gum encourages saliva production which works to remove food particles and fight tooth decay. But don’t worry; there’s still another way to get your sweet fix: many chewing gum brands contain natural or artificial sweeteners such as xylitol that will keep your smile strong!
Gum base is composed of many raw materials, such as rubber and resin, powdered sugar, liquid glucose, lecithin, glycerin, fillers, preservatives, fillers/emulsifiers/emulsifiers such as paraffin waxes or vegetable oils; fillers such as fillers /emulsifiers are also added for consistency maintenance and preservatives such as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is added by manufacturers to extend shelf life.
Notably, some gums contain animal fat to improve the consistency and prevent hardening of their gum. While this fat may come from either plant or animal sources, depending on its manufacturer. Be sure to read your gum’s label to determine whether or not its components come from animals.
Some gums contain sorbitol, a polyalcohol sugar suitable for diabetics that is often used as a sweetener in sugar-free gums and bulking agents in other food items like chewy candies and gummy fruits. With less calories than sucrose and less chance of insulin reactions than sucrose, sorbitol makes a great sugar alternative when used as an artificial sweetener in sugar-free products like gum. It is also often used as a bulking agent when bulking agents in foods including chewy candies and gummy fruits that use artificial sweeteners such as sucrose as sweeteners to bulk them up for consumption by users with diabetic conditions.
Some food and drinks may contain trace amounts of pork products, which is easily avoidable by reading the ingredients list and reading carefully for creative names or vague labelling. It is still vitally important, however, for vegan or vegetarian consumers to carefully examine such ingredients lists so as to stay away from any potentially problematic items.