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Chewing gum

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– Etymology
– Aztecs and Maya traditionally chewed chicle for various purposes.
– Chicle was used by the Maya as a tooth cavity filling.
– American Chicle Company was the first major commercial user of chicle in gum production.
– William Wrigley Company stopped buying Guatemalan chicle in response to a land reform law.
– Most gum companies switched to synthetic rubber by the 1960s.

– Historical References
– Jonathan Norton Leonard’s book on Latin American cooking mentions chicle.
– Jennifer P. Mathews’ book explores the history of chicle.
– Merriam-Webster and Mexicolore have articles on chicle.
– Kate Harris’ book “Trees of Belize” discusses chicle trees.
– Walter LaFeber’s book “Inevitable Revolutions” touches on the US in Central America.

– Usage
– Chicle was used traditionally by indigenous communities for various purposes.
Chewing gum companies transitioned from chicle to synthetic rubber due to cost.
– Some small gum companies still use chicle in their products.
– Chicle was valued for its versatility and properties.
– The decline in chicle usage was influenced by economic factors.

– Impact on Guatemala
– The Guatemalan government had to support chicle growers after Wrigley’s decision.
– Chicle played a significant role in Guatemala’s economy.
– The shift away from chicle affected many Guatemalan workers.
– Guatemala had to adapt to the changing gum industry landscape.
– The aid program for chicle growers aimed to mitigate the impact of the industry shift.

– Environmental and Health Aspects
– Chicle has natural origins and is biodegradable.
Chewing gum made from chicle may have environmental benefits.
– Synthetic rubber used in gum production has environmental drawbacks.
– Chicle gum may be a healthier alternative to synthetic gum.
– The sustainability of chicle as a gum base is being reconsidered.

Chewing gum (Wikipedia)

Chewing gum is a soft, cohesive substance designed to be chewed without being swallowed. Modern chewing gum is composed of gum base, sweeteners, softeners/plasticizers, flavors, colors, and, typically, a hard or powdered polyol coating. Its texture is reminiscent of rubber because of the physical-chemical properties of its polymer, plasticizer, and resin components, which contribute to its elastic-plastic, sticky, chewy characteristics.

Chewing gum
An unwrapped stick of chewing gum
Main ingredientsGum base, sweeteners, plasticizers, flavors, colors, polyols
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