Communications director to President Donald Trump, meme, and purveyor of “alternative facts” Sean Spicer gave his first official briefing on Monday as the White House Press Secretary, in which he displayed a blatant disregard for scientific facts. In light of this, the internet has unearthed a personal fact about Spicer that reveals some unexpectedly science-savvy behavior: The man loves gum so much that he chews — and swallows — 35 sticks of gum a day.
In August, a Washington Post profile on Spicer divulged the truth about his gum-chewing habit:
Even when he is not speaking, it [his mouth] works on overdrive, churning through pieces of Orbit cinnamon gum, which he chews and swallows whole. Notwithstanding his line of work, the man just can’t stand a gross-feeling mouth. “Two and a half packs by noon,” said Spicer. “I talked to my doctor about it, he said it’s not problem.”
The fact that Spicer’s doctor is chill with him swallowing two and a half packs of gum a day appears to be the first science-based fact that Sean “Cinnamon Spice” Spicer has shared with the public. Because it’s true — it’s not awful to swallow your gum whole.
Gum consists of a gum base, flavoring, preservatives, softeners, and sometimes a sweetener. When gum is swallowed, the sweeteners, flavoring, and softeners are broken down by the digestive system and eventually excreted. The actual gum base isn’t broken down by stomach acid and digestive enzymes — but it doesn’t stick around in your stomach for seven years, either. Instead, it moves relatively intact through the digestive system, into your stomach, and out through your butt. Spicer is fine smacking and swallowing gum all day because he’s going to poop it out within a week.
That’s not to say there isn’t any risk at all. If Spicer is chomping on sugarless gum, the sorbitol in the gum could potentially cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. Cinnamon is also a risky flavor to chew: according to Yale Scientific Magazine, over-consumption of cinnamon has been linked to the development of ulcers. The 35-stick habit also likely means that Spicer is a dude with a lot of spit: A 2011 study in Dental Research Journal linked flavored gum with a “heavy salivary flow rate.”
The facts that Spicer is probably okay swallowing two and a half packs of gum and has an increased likelihood of having heavy salivary flow rate are exactly that — scientific facts. Spicer has embraced these facts because he loves swallowing gum. In contrast, a small sampling of facts that Spicer has not embraced are the one surrounding climate change. When asked on Monday what the Trump administration would do to address climate change, he offered very few facts at all.
On the topic of facts, Spicer said that “we can disagree with the facts” and “there are certain things that we may not fully understand” — certain things like the indisputable fact that Trump’s inauguration crowd was smaller than Barack Obama’s crowd in 2009.
Here’s another fact for Spicer to chew on: 2016 was the warmest year in recorded history, and climate change trends that became evident in the 1970s have not gone away. But you won’t hear that from Spicer anytime soon — he’s likely to have his mouth full, anyway.
Photos via Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla