If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know a whole lot about your digestive process and the gastrointestinal tract that makes it all happen. Myths are often repeated as fact by people who seem to know what they’re talking about. It’s only when you start to have uncomfortable (embarrassing) digestive symptoms that you have to search out the truth so that you can help yourself feel better.
So let’s de-bunk 9 of the most common myths…
1: Digestion happens in the stomach. False, the biggest portion of the digestive process actually happens in the small intestine. The stomach takes in food, churns it and breaks it into smaller particles, unappealingly named chime. This is then released in batches to the small intestine where a good deal of the digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs. Foods don’t digest in the order you eat them – rather it’s all mixed together and sent along its way.
2: Cut your food intake, you’ll shrink your stomach. False. Once you reach adulthood, your stomach is pretty much the same size, unless you have surgery to shrink it. Eating less will not shrink your stomach. Eating less will help you reset your appetite thermostat so you may not feel as hungry and it’s easier to stick to healthy eating goals, resist snacking.
3: Thin people have naturally smaller stomachs. False. It might seem hard to imagine, but the size of the stomach is not related to weight or dieting. You can be naturally thin and have the same size (or larger) stomach than those who fight the battle of the bulge for a lifetime.
4: Exercise cuts the size of your belly. It doesn’t. Exercising does not reduce one area of fat alone, though it does help burn fat all over the body. It’ll also help tighten the abdominal muscles so that you’ll look leaner.
In truth, the most dangerous part of fat is the kind you can’t see, the fat in the omentum, a sort of sheet that lies over and all around your internal organs. If you’re really overweight you probably have a lot of fat over and around your organs. The danger with so much weight lies in that the liver can be so packed with fat that a form of hepatitis can develop.
Luckily making changes to a more healthy way of eating can really help in shedding the weight you see, and the stuff you don’t.
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9 Myths And Facts About Your GI Tract Continued…
5: Foods with insoluble fiber cause less gas and bloating. False. Gas and bloating actually come from intestinal organisms that are needed to digest soluble fiber. What you may have thought to be an easier form of fiber (soluble) can actually cause more gas and bloating than insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber isn’t digested, thus no involvement with intestinal organisms – so no embarrassing gas or uncomfortable bloat.
6: Ease acid reflux symptoms by losing weight. True. Losing just a bit of fat in the abdominal area makes a difference in your symptoms. Less fat means less push against internal organs, less heartburn, a bit of relief. Since most people lose weight in the tummy area first, you’ll see some change in your symptoms in just a few weeks after you start trying to lose weight.
7: Eating before bed makes you gain faster than if you ate the same foods during the day. False. Gaining weight comes down to taking in more calories than we burn, and weight gain isn’t based on the 24-hour clock as we understand it. There isn’t any science that says eating at a specific time can influence weight gain all by itself.
But you should know that eating before bed, especially if you’re stressed, can make digestion more difficult. You might experience gas, bloating and painful heartburn. Later in the day, the digestive system, like the rest of us, is tired, so it contracts less, moving food through the system more slowly.
8: A 200-calorie snack of peanut butter and crackers is better able to control your appetite than eating a 200-calorie serving of crackers. True. Fats digest more slowly than carbs, and they stay in the stomach longer which leaves us naturally feeling fuller, longer after eating a snack that has a bit of fat. By contrast, simple carbs give you a quick increase in blood sugar, but can have you dropping just as fast.
9: Beans cause everyone to make gas, and there’s nothing you can do. True. Beans are naturally loaded with a kind of sugar that needs a certain enzyme to digest. Some of us have more of it, some less and the less you have the more gas will be made during your digestion of beans. Over the counter gas remedies or charcoal tablets can help if you take them before you dig in.
To your good health,