Do You Know Nutrition: Gum made from birch xylitol is best

Feb. 15, 2011 at midnight
Updated Feb. 14, 2011 at 8:15 p.m.

Phylis Canion

Phylis Canion

By Phylis Canion

Can you please tell me what the fine white powder is on a stick of chewing gum? Also, is there a chewing gum you recommend if I am trying to avoid sugar?

Depending on the manufacturer, the fine white powder on a stick of chewing gum could be talc, calcium carbonate, finely granulated sugar or finely ground marble.

The only chewing gum that I recommend is one that is made from birch xylitol, not corn xylitol. Birch xylitol, used as a sweetener, is considered all natural and has many beneficial properties, including gum and teeth health. The corn variety, more than likely, comes from a source that is genetically modified.

How long does the digestion process take? Is there a way that I can test my own system to see?

The body needs fuel and energy to grow and repair itself. The role of the digestive system is to convert food into a simple form of sugar, protein and fatty acids. The digested food is absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine and nutrients are carried into the cells of the body.

The process begins in the mouth and takes about seven seconds to enter the stomach after the food is swallowed. Then digestion begins and can take anywhere from 18 to 30 hours. The process depends on the amount and type of food you have eaten, and how well you chewed it. How well you chew your food is the most important part of the digestive process, since food that has not been properly chewed will result in incomplete digestion.

Once food enters the stomach, it is mixed with gastric juices.

After food has been churned in the stomach and broken down mechanically and chemically, it then passes into the first part of the small intestine, where the food is mixed with more digestive enzymes that come from the pancreas and bile, which comes from the liver. At this point, the nutrients are absorbed and the remaining waste is passed through to the colon for excretion.

Slow-moving, toxic waste through the system can result in many problems. One easy way to check your digestive timeline is to eat a serving of corn and observe the time of excretion. According to Michael Picco, M.D. gastroenterologist with Mayo Clinic, you should see excretion begin within 24 hours.

Call today to sign up for the Free Nutrition Class, scheduled for Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Organic Emporium, 361-576-2100.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, e-mail her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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