Too much chewing gum may have played a role in the death of a “vibrant, happy and fun loving” 19-year-old shop worker.
An inquest heard Samantha “Sam” Jenkins, 19, of Felinfoel, Llanelli, collapsed and died suddenly after complaining of a headache at home in June 2011.
The inquest heard Samantha’s cause of death was cerebal hypoxia (brain swelling) caused by convulsions due to low salt, magnesium and calcium levels in her body.
But experienced Morriston Hospital pathologist Dr Paul Griffiths who carried out a post mortem examination also suggested her death could have been contributed to by the laxative effects of excessive consumption of sugar free chewing gum – her favourite brand being Trident.
In my own experience, I’ve found modern-day chewing gum, which is often sweetened with aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, to be the equivalent to crack cocaine: if I have one piece, I gotta have another when the flavor goes away. Repeat until I’ve chewed the entire pack of gum. And, of course, the packs of gum are bigger than they used to be.
While this article focuses on the evils of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners as the potential cause of her death, I’m guessing the real cause had something to do with the fact she clearly swallowed her gum:
Dr Griffiths told the inquest when he carried out the post mortem examination he found five “large lumps” of bright green coloured mint smelling chewing gum in Samantha’s stomach, something he had never encountered before.
Clearly it’s an issue of “too much chewing gum” as the headline suggests. That said, while I’m all-in on the idea aspartame may not be so great for humans, blaming the aspartame as the sole cause of this poor girl’s death is a bit of a stretch.