Disguised myths have led people to misunderstand and even torture their bodies in the hope of improving the digestive system, but the result is nothing as expected. To help you realize the truth of the matter, we bust out some of the common myths about digestion that are popularly believed to be as facts. This article deals with 16 myths about digestion, bringing out real sense to the readers about digestion.
16 Myths About Digestion
In order to maintain good health, it is necessary to know the facts as against the commonly prevailing myths. Let us bust 16 myths about digestion and learn the facts related to it.
- Digestion Happens in the Stomach: This is commonest of the 16 myths about digestion. However, stomach is just a part of the digestive system and therefore it solely is not responsible for the complete digestion process, rather is just a place where some of the digestion takes place. The fact is that digestion first begins in the mouth.(1) Our mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and the large intestine, each has its role to play in the process of digestion and each one’s proper working is indispensable for a healthy digestive system.(1)
- You Should Pass Stool Every Day (3): One of the popular myths about digestion is that the sign of a healthy digestion is when a person passes stool only once a day. Completely untrue, health professionals believe that each body has its own system; some people can open their bowels 2-3 times a day while some people pass it out only once in 2-3 days, both the conditions are normal. If there is any associated problem, bloating, abdominal pain, cramps of bleeding; then it needs medical advice.
- Stomach Gurgling Always Means You Are Hungry: Another common myth about digestion; though stomach gurgling is also a sign of hunger, it does not always mean just that.(2) Rather stomach gurgling is normal and can also be caused due to the working of the stomach over your previous meal or it could even mean gas passing through the gut.(2)
- Food Absorbs Alcohol: The tendency of the human body to get less high when the stomach is full, has led to one of the 16 myths about digestion. However, it is not true, nothing inside your body absorbs anything else, other than being absorbed by body itself. The food might mix with each other, but each performs its job and is let into the bloodstream in some manner.
- Better Digestion Means More Energy: This is yet another myth about digestion. Science has proven the fact that energy in body is in the form of calories in the food and is influenced by the amount of food you eat. More energy is a result of intake of energy giving foods not the working or digestion of your stomach.
- Digestive Problems Are Rare and Embarrassing: This one of the 16 myths about digestion that need to be busted in order to effectively manage gastrointestinal problems. Digestive problems are extremely common and many people are experiencing various digestive problems, so it is not rare and nor is it embarrassing to suffer from digestive issues.
- Sitting on Cold Floor Causes Piles (4, 5) : Though sitting on the floor can sometimes increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids also called piles, but the temperature of the floor has nothing to do it.(4, 5) Here is one of the 16 myths about digestion busted.
- Spicy Foods Cause Stomach Ulcer (3): The general cause of an ulcer is the presence of the helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that has been affecting the human since a millennia and it has nothing to do with spicy food or stress.(3) They may also be caused due to infection or pain medication, but not because of spicy food. This is one of the myths about digestion, but in some sensitive people, spicy food can make the already existing ulcer feel worse.(3)
- Cooked Food can be Digested Easily (3): Cooking might ease up the process of absorbing nutrients, but overcooking may also lead to loosing nutrients in the food. Moreover, not all cooked food is digested easily, as it also depends on the types of food and the way it is cooked.
- Drinking Plenty Of Water With Meals Helps Improve Digestion (3) : This is one of the 16 myths about digestion. The fact is that if the body remains well hydrated through the day, it does not require water along with food to improve digestion.
- Meat Stays In Your Stomach Longer Than Vegetables (6): This is yet another popular myth about digestion. Though some food items may feel heavier in the stomach than simple vegetables, but that does not indicate that it stays longer in the stomach. Meat and vegetables take same amount of time to get through the digestive tract, but it may give you a feeling of fullness for long.
- Aging Causes Constipation (7): Again one of the 16 myths about digestion is that aging causes constipation. However, the fact is that age has nothing to do with constipation. However, as people age, they tend to lose muscle tone and increased intake of medicines might affect digestion in some people.(7) But for many elderly people with a healthy routine, the digestion may be as normal as a young person.
- Ingested Gum is Digested Over A Period Of 7 Years (3): This is an interesting myth about digestion. The fact is that anything the body ingests either gets passed or gets absorbed within a period of maximum of seven days. Though a chewing gum does not get broken down or absorbed by the body, but it does get passed out of your body through stool.(3)
- Colon Needs Regular Cleansing (3): Colon cleansing has popularly given rise to this one of the 16 myths about digestion. Your body is completely equipped to deal with its systems and colon cleansing is a natural part of such processes. Any toxic bi-products of the food we eat are taken care of by liver and kidney, it is not necessary to get colonic irrigation done for all. For some people, with specific problems, colon cleansing may be considered with medical advice.
- Diarrhea is a Sign of Infection and Should Run its Course: This is one of the common 16 myths about digestion. Diarrhea is caused due to various factors and infection is just one of them. But allowing it to run its course is not safe as there is a risk of losing salts, water and cause dehydration. Diarrhea must receive appropriate treatment and timely rehydration of salts to avoid further complications.
- Smoking Reduces Heartburn: This can be considered one of the most dangerous myths about digestion. The reason is that if there is any effect that smoking has on heartburn, it is increasing it further and not decreasing it.(8, 9) Heartburn must be treated appropriately and it is best to quit smoking for preventing heartburn and other health issues.