Thursday, August 30, 2007

Innocence lost in electric smiles

A word about gum: in case you didn't realize, as I didn't, almost all gum now contains aspartame, which is apparently the worst of the artificial sweeteners for developing fetuses (feti?). And, in case you didn't realize, as I didn't, I chew a lot of gum whilst teaching, to keep lubricated, I guess.

So where does that leave me? Well, today, it leaves me with Sugar-free Strawberry Bubble-Yum, Sour Cherry STORM Bubblicious Bursts, and Fruit Stripes 5 Juicy Flavors. The Bubble-Yum is horrendous, chemical tasting and too soft in your mouth. I'm also not sure that saccharin is much better than aspartame, though they (the all-knowing "they") assure me it is. Bubblicious is better, more fruity and containing a liquid center like the kind I've loved ever since they introduced Chewels when I was a child, though the sour isn't really very sour from my citric acid obsessed standpoint. Fruit Stripe has the retro cache, of course, and comes with temporary tatoos of sport-playing Zebras, which are appealing while not particularly useful. Unfortunately, the flavor of each piece of Fruit Stripe lasts a grand total of 2 minutes, meaning I have to go through a whole pack in one class, which really isn't cost effective. (And sort of freaks my students out, as I inadvertently discovered yesterday.)

Plus, in order to find these varieties of gum, I have had to go out of my way whilst shopping. Walmart? No such luck. (Yes, I shop there. I live in the South. I like bargains. It's the only retail outlet on my island. Deal.) Target? Not chic enough, apparently. The dollar store has some offerings, but the quality is spotty. CVS surprised me by having the widest selection and won my eternal gratitude. And since all my multiple prescriptions are there already, my continued business is theirs as well.


famlaw said...

Hi Lilita,
I'm not sure that aspartame is generally warned against in pregnancy (as long as usage is moderate or less). Sites like this suggest that it is generally safe ( ) but warn against saccharine (since it crosses into the fetus). Apparently aspartame should be avoided in pregnant women with PKU or high blood levels of phenylalanine.

It should also be noted that gum has quite low levels of aspartame, it would take about 25 pieces of gum to equal the aspartame in one can of diet soda.

Lilita said...

One of my least favorite pregnancy issues is the fact that every time you turn around you get conflicting info about what's good, what's bad, what's neutral--it's driving me crazy! But, thanks for the research: I am glad to hear there is someone out there who says aspartame is okay, though of course now I'm alarmed about the never ends!