Neon orange Cheez Doodles, blue Slurpees, dried meat sticks, and spongy tubes filled with creamy white stuff. Are these foods or cartoon characters? These and other snack items may not be nutritious, but they are foods. Any product that contains nutrients
your body can use is considered a food, even if all it offers is fat
, sugar, and chemicals (in other words, empty calories
. So, if you've ever had questions about whether chewing gum and Jell-O count as food, here's the deal! back to top
Is gum food?
Yes, chewing gum is food. Gum is made out of natural or man-made ingredients, including sugar, corn syrup, or sugar-free sweeteners like aspartame
. Gum also contains softeners made from glycerin and other vegetable oil products as well as a bit of flavoring like mint. back to top
True or false: Chewing gum can help you lose weight
True: Chewing gum can raise your resting metabolism
while you're chomping. But it's not going to burn serious calories
. For that, you still have to exercise something other than your jaw. back to top
What about gelatin?
Yes, gelatin is food. Believe it or not, gelatin is a protein
made by boiling animal bones and connective tissue. It is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and you can see through it. Gelatin dissolves in hot water and forms a thick gel or jelly when it cools. You'll find it in many jams and jellies, ice cream, and marshmallows. And, of course, gelatin is the magic ingredient in Jell-O. back to top
Olestra is a substitute for oil or fat and is found in a variety of foods, like potato chips, French fries, processed baked goods, cookies, spreads, salad dressings, candy, and ice cream. It has no calories and is considered a food. Even though Olestra has no calories, the food it is added to does. Keep in mind that the fat in potato chips and brownies adds to the pleasure you feel when you eat. If you go for the nonfat Olestra chips, you may end up eating more than you would have if you'd eaten the regular chips. That means you may eat more calories than you would have if you ate a serving of regular chips. Also, some girls who eat products that contain Olestra get crampy pain, diarrhea
, and gas. You decide if it's worth it. back to top