Believe it or not, your chewing gum can contain FODMAPs. (Remember: FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, and they refer to the types of carbohydrates that don’t get digested or are poorly absorbed in the small intestine.) Gum typically falls under the polyols bucket, as “these are your sugar alcohols,” says Singh. “Your xylitols, your mannitols, sorbitols—all the things that say sugar-free on the label, most of the time they’re going to have these polyols in them.”
So if you participate in a low-FODMAP diet (eschewing high-fructan items like garlic, onion, apples, Brussels sprouts, and more) but still suffer from IBS-like symptoms or discomfort, you might want to take a look at the label on your pack of gum. “There may be two or three of these FODMAPs in the gum,” says Singh. “And sometimes just not chewing the gum is actually helpful.”
Even though you’re not eating gum, per se, you’re still ingesting those high-FODMAP, sugar-free sweeteners when you swallow your saliva—there might not be enough polyols to trigger digestive discomfort in any ol’ microbiome, but for those with an already compromised gut, even the minuscule amount can wreak havoc.