Wrigley, the stalwart chewing gum manufacturer, is stirring up some controversy with its new Alert Energy Gum. The “energy” comes in the form of caffeine, and each piece of gum has the equivalent of half a cup of coffee. Wrigley is positioning the gum as an adult product, but the FDA is worried that kids will use these gums as well.
According to the FDA, the proliferation of caffeine added to foods is beyond anything the agency ever envisioned. Indeed, caffeine has found its way into more products over the years, more notably the fastest growing beverage category – energy drinks. These are a favorite among teens and younger; their ad campaigns are certainly targeting that demographic.
Currently, per the FDA’s own regulations, manufacturers who add caffeine to a product must label its presence in the ingredient list, but don’t have to state how much caffeine is added.
The real problem with this gum is not caffeine. Caffeine is a natural substance, and multiple studies have shown that up to 3 cups of coffee a day may actually have health benefits. Of course too much caffeine in foods and beverages can lead to adverse effects, especially in kids.
But stay away from this gum because of all the other crap it has:
SORBITOL MALTITOL, GUM BASE, GLYCEROL, CAFFEINE LESS THAN 2% OF: NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, ACACIA, SOY LECITHIN, MALIC ACID, ASPARTAME, COLORS (TITANIUM DIOXIDE, BLUE 2 LAKE, RED 40 LAKE), SUCRALOSE, ASPARTAME-ACESULFAME, CITRIC ACID, ACESULFAME K, CONFECTIONER’S GLAZE, BHT (TO MAINTAIN FRESHNESS), CARNAUBA WAX.PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE.
Did you notice the 4 different artificial sweeteners? Or the 3 different artificial colors?
What to do at the supermarket:
Opt for gums that exclusively use sugar alcohols (malitol, xylitol, anything-that-ends-with-tol) as sweeteners, not aspartame. choose those that are naturally colored. A good example is Glee Gum.