Sweet chewing gum sour for health

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London, Jan 11 (UNI) Tasty and Yummy at first, sticky and sour after sometime, yet you like to chew it for hours at length.

Don't fret if you develop severe health risk chewing your ''sugar free'' gum.

Sorbitol, the sweetner, used in sugar-free chewing gum, some toothpastes and thousands of other products could trigger severe weight loss, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, experts warn.

A report published today in the British Medical Journal highlighted the cases of patients who lost up to a fifth of their bodyweight.

The cause was eventually traced to excess intake of sorbitol while eating 14-20 sticks of gum a day.

Chewing sugarfree gum has been known to increase saliva production, which reduces cavities and strengthens teeth and has become increasingly popular among people suffering from diabetis.

Medical experts, however, believe that many consumers and even some doctors were unaware of the laxative side-effects of sorbitol, which could also hinder the absorption of nutrients into the small intestine.

Lead researcher Herbert Lochs said, the public, particularly diabetics who buy low-sugar or sugar-free foods, should be warned that too much sorbitol may be ''dangerous''.

Warnings about possible side-effects were usually ''in the small print'' of packaging and many people who suffered gastrointestinal problems were not able to make the connection.

Dr Lochs said men and women should not try to lose weight 1998 using sugarfree gum because their intake of nutrients would be affected.

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