20 things you didn't know about... digestion eknazar
20 Things You Didn't Know About... Digestion
1 The gastrointestinal tract is a 30-foot tube running from your mouth to your anus.
Topologically, your gut has the same shape as those doughnuts you regularly pass through it.
2 The small intestine contains so many folds—down to the microscopic level—that its total
surface area is about 2,700 square feet, enough to cover a tennis court.
3 The Roman physician Galen regarded the stomach as a quasi-autonomous being within us,
able to “feel a lack which rouses the animal and stimulates it to seek food.”
4 Much of our basic understanding of gastric physiology comes from the work of army
surgeon William Beaumont, who in 1825 observed the digestive process by inserting food
into an unhealed gunshot wound in a French-Canadian trapper’s stomach.
5 The three days of Christmas: It took up to 72 hours to digest your holiday dinner. Carbs
(stuffing and pumpkin pie) will be processed first. The dry, overcooked protein that is your
holiday turkey came next. Fat (gravy and whipped cream) was be the last to go.
6 Maybe it’s just the company. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, is often blamed
for post-meal drowsiness, but the proteins in the meat largely neutralize it.
7 Or maybe it’s those dancing sugarplums. Gorging on high-glycemic foods (lots of sugar
and starch) can concentrate tryptophan in your blood plasma, boosting its effect.
8 Most of the body’s serotonin, a major mood-influencing hormone, is made not in the head
but in the stomach lining.
9 The calories you burn simply digesting food account for 5 to 15 percent of your energy
expenditure. Protein and alcohol require the most energy.
10 Chemistry of a cheap date: Women produce only 60 percent as much alcohol
dehydrogenase, the enzyme that neutralizes booze, as men do.
11 Achalasia, a rare condition that prevents swallowing, can be treated by a shot of Botox,
which relaxes the esophageal sphincter—and undoubtedly makes it look years younger.
12 Pica, an eating disorder in which sufferers develop an appetite for nonnutritive substances
such as paint and dirt, affects up to 30 percent of young children. Its cause is unknown but
possibly linked to subtle mineral deficiencies.
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