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10 Things You May Not Know About Chewing Gum

What can deliver a refreshing burst of minty flavour, be used to bait crabs, and in a pinch seal up leaky pipes? If you guessed chewing gum, you are correct.

Here are 10 facts about the versatile treat.

Number 10. It dates back at least 5 thousand years. An archaeology student digging in Finland found a chewed up piece birch bark tar that was enjoyed all those millennia ago. In ancient times it was a popular remedy for oral infections and also used as a kind of glue for pots.

Number 9. It got a global popularity boost during World War 2. William Wrigley was able to talk the powers that be into including gum in American soldiers’ rations. It quickly gained a lot of overseas fans. Before long demand was so large that it caused a strain on the natural base supply, and a synthetic alternative had to be developed. 

Number 8. Sale of gum is mostly forbidden in Singapore. The ban went into effect in 1992 in an effort to keep it from ending up littering the streets and subways. In 2004, special allowances were given, particularly for products that offer health benefits

Number 7. Seattle has a gum wall. It was started in the 90s by people waiting in long lines for event tickets and has been growing since. Over the years, some have gotten more elaborate with their contributions, stretching them to form shapes and words. 

Number 6. It doesn’t take 7 years to digest. The sugars, softeners, and flavourings get processed by the body in the usual, timely fashion. The stuff that can’t be broken down, like many gum bases, just travels through the intestinal tract as is, much like a small coin would. 

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Number 5. Chewing gum may boost memory. A study showed that participants who chomped away while listening to a number sequence were better at recalling the digits later. It’s believed the chewing gave them a concentration advantage

Number 4. Oprah Winfrey fears it. Her phobia is said to stem from her childhood, when her grandmother saved used pieces by sticking them in a cabinet in rows. Back then Oprah was repulsed by it. Now seeing a chewed up wad causes her a great deal of anxiety

Number 3. Wrigley didn’t plan on becoming the ruler of the gum universe. His first venture was selling goods like soap. He threw the gum in as a bonus, and it was so popular he eventually decided to make it his primary product

Number 2. There’s a biodegradable version. It’s manufactured by a co-operative of Mayan farmers in Mexico and made with a special base ingredient harvested from the chicozapote tree. As a chewed piece dries it becomes less tacky and within a couple of months, turns to dust

Number 1.According to a report published in 1999, 560 thousand tons are consumed annually. That’s around 374 billion individual pieces of gum, and roughly 187 billion hours of chewing.

What’s your favourite thing about chewing gum?

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Vocabulary

minty flavour

mentolos íz

crab bait

rák csali

leaky pipe

csöpögő cső

versatile treat

sokoldalú finomság

birch bark tar

nyírfakéreg kátrány

in ancient times

ősi időkben

remedy

orvosság

oral infection

szájfertőzés

glue

ragasztó

popularity boost

népszerűségi ugrás

ration

fejadag

overseas

tengerentúl

demand

követelmény

strain

megterhelés, feszítés

supply

utánpótlás, készlet

synthetic alternative

szintetikus helyettes, alternatíva

forbidden

tiltott

ban

tilalom

littering

szemetelés

special allowances

különleges engedély

benefit

haszon

elaborate

aprólékos, gondos

contribution

hozzájárulás

to digest

emészt

intestinal tract

bél traktus

to chomp

csámcsog

advantage

előny

to stem from

gyökerezik valahonnan

to be repulsed by

undort várt ki valakiből

anxiety

aggódás, szorongás

primary product

elsődleges termék

biodegradable

biológiailag lebontható

to harvest

szüretelni

tacky

ízléstelen, gusztustalan

dust

por

to consume

fogyasztani

annually

évente

 

 

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