Facts about the stomach are useful for anyone who may be considering a diet or anyone who suffers stomach problems. What we think of as the stomach is part of the gastro-intestinal tract which basically starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum. Like every part of the human body, it is an intricate piece of biological machinery that carries out a mass of functions in the process of living and as such we rarely give thought to facts of the stomach – it’s just there, going about its daily business. For anyone interested in their dietary health here are 7 Surprising Facts About Your Stomach:
1. Digestion Doesn’t Take Place in the Stomach
The lower intestine is responsible for digesting the food we eat. The stomach is like a mixing machine. Food enters the stomach where it mixes with acids and enzymes which break it down into particles called chime. The chime then passes to the lower intestine where it is processed into energy, fat or waste product.
2. You Cannot Shrink Your Stomach
There is a common myth that if you cut down your food intake, the stomach will shrink and therefore you won’t feel so hungry. Stomach fact: Your stomach reaches adult size and pretty much stays the same size unless you opt for surgery to make it smaller.
3. Stomach Size Doesn’t Relate to Body Size/weight
One of the interesting facts about the stomach, especially considering how much part in plays in our diet, is that there is no correlation between weight and stomach size. A naturally thin person can have the same size stomach (or even larger) as a person who struggles with weight control. Did you know an adult’s stomach can hold as much as 1.5 litres of material?
4. Weight Gain is Not Time Controlled
How many times have you heard the comment don’t eat a heavy meal before bedtime? The general assumption is that it is better to eat during the day when you are more active than before bed because you are more likely to burn off the calories. Eating before bedtime might cause bloating, heartburn and indigestion but the fact of the stomach is that it is designed to process food at the right time in the right amount. Weight gain/loss is not determined by a stomach clock but by how many calories you consume compared to how many you burn off.
5. Your Stomach is Lined with Acid
The stomach is filled with hydrochloric acid which is critical to the digestive process. This gastric acid is made in the parietal cells and interacts with an important enzyme called pepsin. Pepsin is fundamental in the break down of proteins. It also acts as activator for other enzymes which get to work on carbohydrate and fats. The hydrochloric acid also helps in keeping nasty stomach bacteria at bay.
6. The Stomach Can Process Everything
This fact about the stomach depends on what you mean by process. The stomach can handle anything you decide to chuck into it. The stomach’s brain knows exactly how to handle each little morsel whether it be slivers of gorgeous white truffle or bits of car tyre. The acid and enzymes break it all down –soluble and insoluble materials are then able to be «separated» with the insoluble bits passing straight on through.
7. Exercise Cannot Change the Size of Your Stomach
A fact of the stomach is that it is an organ. Exercises cannot affect the size of organs. Exercise burns fat. Whilst most of us know about the visible fat on our bodies (some are more acutely aware!), there is an invisible fat that is more risky. Fat can gather in the omemtum, a layer than surrounds organs so, when you exercise and eat a healthy diet you are not only managing the visible fat but the omentum fat too. So, now you know – those abdominal crunches and sit-ups do have an effect, even if your stomach remains the same size.
The body is fascinating and amazing – it’s no wonder we refer to the miracle of life - as these facts about your stomach show. These stomach facts also show there are some myths and misconceptions that blur reality and may well affect the decisions we make about what we put in our bodies and when. What it all boils down to really is the necessity to follow a healthy diet and regular exercise giving the stomach the best chance to do its job properly and well.
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