Many types of chewing gum contain gluten, a protein composite found naturally in wheat and other grains that is intolerable to those with celiac disease or other digestive sensitivities. Many popular chewing gums are already gluten-free. This type of gum contains no traces of gluten. Retailers that specialize in gluten-free foods often include gluten-free gum as part of their product lineup.
Gluten is most commonly found in wheat and other grains, including rye, oats, and barley. Found in dough, fake meats, pastries, and many other foods, gluten helps to thicken many foods or to give them chewy qualities. This chewiness is a primary reason for including gluten in some chewing gums. Gluten can also be found in foods that might not initially be thought to contain gluten, such as teriyaki sauce, beer, and ice cream.
Many people with frequent digestive problems or pains are discovering they have underlying gluten allergies, enhancing the importance of finding products such as gluten-free gum. A gluten allergy can develop at any time in one’s life. It is not known exactly why gluten sensitivities occur, but it may be related to eating too much gluten or chemicals that are often added to gluten-containing products. Celiac disease is a very common genetic gluten intolerance.
Gluten-free gum can be found on the shelves of most stores. Some brands of gum, such as Trident®, are naturally free of gluten. In general, gums that are packaged as pellets rather than sticks, qualify as gluten-free gum. The powder used to keep stick gum from adhering to its wrapping often contains gluten. There are some stick gums, such as Doublemint®, that are also gluten-free.
When searching for gluten-free gum, check the ingredients list on the packaging. If wheat, barley, rye, oats, or other grains are listed in the ingredients, the product is likely not free of gluten. Researching a favorite type online to determine if it is gluten-free is also a useful strategy. Some gum manufacturers list their gluten-free products on their websites. Some companies specialize in producing gluten-free foods, including gum.
Some people with extreme gluten intolerance are sensitive to the glutens found in corn. Many of these individuals experience symptoms when eating corn, corn-based products, or foods containing corn syrup. Some gluten-free gums contain corn glutens, which can be found in corn syrup. A physician can best advise if products containing small amounts of corn gluten are safe for those with an extreme gluten intolerance.