It’s hard to find chewing gum that isn’t packed full of artificial sweeteners. Gum has become a testament to the power of chemistry and flavour engineering, an ounce of calorie-reduced snack-prevention that’s simultaneously a sweet treat.
I love gum, and I have a whole lot of it every day. Why? Because it keeps my mouth doing something and it freshens my breath. But I shudder when I think of all the curious chemicals I’m taking in.
The rows of Glee Gum at the checkout of my local Planet Organic caught my attention with the promise of an “all natural gum made with rainforest chicle.” I picked up a few, and gave ‘em a taste.
While all-natural gum has some great upsides (no wacky sweeteners), it also comes with some big downsides. Without all those funky ingredients to boost freshness-making and bad-breath-eliminating, Glee Gum doesn’t pack the same punch as most other gums.
For starters, the flavour doesn’t last. On average, the flavour hit stuck around for a minute or two, then faded to almost nothing, then became gross by about the six-minute mark. By seven minutes, I needed another piece just to clear out the aftertaste of the first piece.
It also isn’t great at quashing bad breath. Some flavours are better at this than others (the more minty, the better), but Glee has nothing on Trident, Wrigley’s 5, or Excel. Instead of booting bad breath to the curb, Glee tries to oust your mouth odours through gentle diplomacy. It’s not all that effective.
A quick overview of three flavours:
Triple Berry: Like wildberry yogurt, crossed with a hint of Twizzlers. Uses a combination of strawberry, raspberry and blueberry flavours. Tastes a bit waxy as the flavour subsides. With only one piece in your mouth, don’t expect the flavour to last more than a couple minutes. After five minutes, you’ll be looking for a garbage can.
Tangerine: Orange, with a hint of banana. It’s a natural taste, less like orange Fanta and more like the spray an orange peel leaves on your fingers, or the pungent nose of orange-scented cleaning products. Not bad, but it’s not going to help mask your coffee breath. Again, it fades fast.
Peppermint: The most likely to have an effect on your breath. It’s not a strong peppermint flavour, in that you can’t feel it working its way into your nostrils through the back of your mouth, but it’ll mostly get the job done in a pinch. You’ll need more than one piece for any real effect, and don’t count on it to mask a slice of garlic toast.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $1.29 at Planet Organic.
Value for cash money: Pretty good per-piece price (18 pieces per pack), but not so good when you remember that it’ll take you a lot of pieces to have any effect on your breath.
Availability: Natural food stores.
Nutrition?: Neutral. But in the gum category, that’s good. Only 5 calories per 2 pieces, and it’s not packed full of artificial sweeteners.
The verdict: For the hardcore folks determined to eliminate aspartame from their diet without giving up chewing gum, it’ll be a godsend. For everyone else, it’s decent, but not great, and you’ll blow through a pack in no time because the flavour doesn’t last.