How badly do you want to lose weight? That’s the question posed by a couple of new case studies in the British Medical Journal. According to Wired Science, a 21-year-old woman in Germany had lost almost 25 pounds in a short period of time: It turns out she was chewing about 15 pieces of sugarless gum every single day, and having diarrhea up to 12 times a day (!). Once she stopped chewing, symptoms evaporated. A middle-aged man had a very similar experience.
Before you buy up stock in chewing gum companies, here’s the catch: The weight loss was from severe diarrhea caused by sorbitol, a sweetener with laxative properties at extremely high dosages. Apparently, Americans are safe from what we’ll call inadvertent recurring laxative events: Sorbitol isn’t normally used as a sweetener in gum here—the standard gum sweetener is aspartame, or NutraSweet.
The moral: Even if the cabin pressure is breaking your ears off your face on a flight back from Europe, don’t go through the whole pack of gum. Just don’t.