Extra is a brand of chewing gum made by Mars Wrigley. It was introduced in 1984 as the first sugar-free gum to be sold in the United States.
So, is Extra still a sugar-free gum today? Let’s find out.
Does Extra Gum Have Sugar?
Extra has stayed true to its roots and its products remain sugar-free today. The below table outlines the various Extra products and their sugar content. Of course, all products listed have zero sugar.
|Extra Product||Serving Size||Total Sugars||Calories|
|Spearmint – Sticks||1 piece (2.5g)||0g||5|
|Polar Ice – Sticks||1 piece (2.5g)||0g||5|
|Peppermint – Sticks||1 piece (2.5g)||0g||5|
|Sweet Watermelon – Sticks||1 piece (2.5g)||0g||5|
|Cinnamon – Sticks||1 piece (2.5g)||0g||5|
|Classic Bubble Gum – Sticks||1 piece (2.5g)||0g||5|
|Rockin’ Raspberry Lime – Sticks||1 piece (2.5g)||0g||5|
|Smooth Mint – Sticks||1 piece (2.5g)||0g||5|
|Winterfresh, Sticks||1 piece (2.5g)||0g||5|
|Refreshers – Spearmint||1 piece (2g)||0g||5|
|Refreshers – Berry Mix||1 piece (2g)||0g||5|
|Refreshers – Mint Mix||1 piece (2g)||0g||5|
|Refreshers – Polar Ice||1 piece (2g)||0g||5|
|Refreshers – Tropical Mist||1 piece (2g)||0g||5|
|Dessert Delights – |
Mint Chocolate Chip
|1 piece (2g)||0g||5|
Here is how Extra gum is sweetened given it does not have sugar:
Extra & Sugar Alcohols
Extra has sugar alcohols, as evidenced by a review of the nutrition facts on the packaging. You can also tell that Extra contains sugar alcohols by a review of the ingredients. Ingredients such as sorbitol and mannitol are sugar alcohols that are used as sweeteners.
Sugar alcohols occur naturally in foods such as fruits or can be processed. Despite containing the words “sugar” and “alcohol” they are chemically structured differently. Sugar alcohols contain neither real sugar nor ethanol (the chemical compound in drinking alcohol).
Extra & Aspartame
In addition to containing sugar alcohols, Extra has aspartame. It is an artificial sweetener and sugar alternative that has been used in U.S. foods/beverages since the 1980s. Despite people linking aspartame to health concerns like cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed it safe for consumption based on existing studies.
Extra & Acesulfame K
Acesulfame K (acesulfame potassium) is another artificial sweetener found in Extra. It is a sugar alternative that is 200 times sweeter than regular sugar but without calories. The FDA has approved the use of this artificial sweetener and it has been in U.S. foods since the late 1980s.
According to Medical News Today, the FDA has determined that you can consume approximately 23 sweetener packets made with acesulfame K a day and still be safe. That’s an enormous amount of sweetener that most people don’t get close to consuming daily.
As we established, Extra Gum is sweetened with artificial sweeteners and not real sugar. These sweeteners have been determined to be safe for people to eat or drink by the FDA and other international health authorities.
If consuming artificial sweeteners is a concern for you, you should avoid Extra Gum and similar products. You may also wish to do additional research on the potential positives and negatives associated with these sweeteners. The sources below may be a good starting point.
Image Credit – Guilherme Torelly/flickr
Cleveland Clinic. (2022, April 11). What you should know about sugar alcohols. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-to-know-about-sugar-alcohols/#:~:text=What%20is%20sugar%20alcohol%3F,their%20products%20while%20reducing%20calories.
WebMD. (n.d.). Is aspartame safe for you? WebMD. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-about-aspartame
MediLexicon International. (n.d.). What is acesulfame potassium, and is it good or bad for you? Medical News Today. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318604#controversies