I hope these facts don’t give you indigestion

The most recent issue of Discover magazine contains an article entitled, “20 Things You Didn’t Know About Digestion.” Here are my 10 favorite facts from this piece written by LeeAundra Keany.

  1. gitThe 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. Most of the body’s serotonin, a major mood-influencing hormone, is made not in the head but in the stomach lining.
  4. The calories you burn simply digesting food account for 5 to 15 percent of your energy expenditure. Protein and alcohol require the most energy.
  5. Women produce only 60 percent as much alcohol dehydrogenase, the enzyme that neutralizes booze, as men do.
  6. HClYour stomach’s primary digestive juice, hydrochloric acid, can dissolve metal, but plastic toys that go down the hatch will come out the other end as good as new.
  7. Same with crayons, hair, and chewing gum–all of which will pass through within a few days, no matter what you’ve heard.
  8. polls_burp_3643_761292_poll_xlargeThe loudest human burp ever recorded–107.1 decibels, about as loud as a chains saw from three feet–was produced by Londoner Paul Hunn in September 2008. On TV, no less.
  9. Brown is the new green:In 2005 the Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy was given to a Rawandan prison that used the methane from human feces to fuel cooking stoves.
  10. That one program saved more than $1.5 million. Think of the global implications.

So, now you know.


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