At times we’ve all experienced that burning sensation in our stomach after eating too much of our favorite spicy food or the occasional bloating that keeps us from zipping up our jeans. We usually know the cause is our stomach, but most people know very little about how their stomach and their digestive tract actually function.
In fact, a lot of misconceptions about stomach health have confused people about how to handle their stomach pain. Here are the some of the most common myths and facts about your stomach that just might help you deal with that next tummy ache.
Myth or Truth #1: Eating less food can shrink the stomach
MYTH. As an adult, the only way to shrink the stomach is through surgery. After a certain age the size of the stomach stops changing.
Myth or Truth #2: All digestion occurs in the stomach
MYTH. Digestion occurs in both the stomach and the small intestines and foods are not digested in the order they are eaten. Everything you take in lands in the stomach. The stomach then combines everything together and breaks it into pieces called chime. Then it is released in batches into the small intestines, where the majority of digestion occurs.
Myth or Truth #3: Skinny people have smaller stomachs
MYTH. Weight does not determine a person’s stomach size. There are people who have had weight battles for most of their life whose stomachs are smaller than or are the same size as people who are naturally thin.
Myth or Truth #4: Foods with insoluble fiber cause less gas and bloating than those with soluble fiber
TRUTH. Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, is considered the “gentler” form of fiber and is found in oats, beans, peas, and citrus fruits. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. When you take in soluble fiber, it is digested by the intestines and interacts with the intestinal flora. This is what causes gas and bloating.
Insoluble fiber, however, is not digested at all. It goes right through the intestines without interacting with the flora; therefore there is no gas or bloating. Insoluble fiber is found in whole-wheat bread, wheat cereals, beets, and carrots.
Myth or Truth #5: Acid reflux can be reduced by losing weight
TRUTH. Heartburn can be relieved by losing as little as two pounds. When there is less weight in the stomach, the acid that flows back up into the esophagus is also lessened.
Myth or Truth #6: A meal with some fat will typically keep you full longer than a meal with no fat
TRUTH. After eating a meal that contains a minimum amount of fat, we feel full longer. This is because fats remain in the stomach longer because they digest more slowly than carbohydrates.
In addition, eating simple carbohydrates like crackers or cookies makes blood sugar and insulin levels rise quickly, and subsequently drop quickly too. This causes dramatic shifts in both mood and appetite. A strictly simple-carbohydrate-diet is more likely to make you hungry more often.
Myth or Truth #7: Eating beans causes gas and it can’t be avoided
MYTH/TRUTH. Proper digestion of beans requires a certain enzyme because beans are high in a certain kind of sugar. The level of this enzyme in the body differs from one person to the next. If you have less of this enzyme than what you need to digest beans, then you will have more gas. However, there are some products, which add more of the enzyme needed to digest beans and other gassy vegetables properly.
If you experience an occasional or more frequent stomach problem such as gas or bloating, there are natural digestive aids that may help. Healthy Choice Naturals Utra-Zymes is one of the most comprehensive natural digestive aids available. It contains 18 enzymes that go to work fast to help you digest foods easily, and get relief from burning, bloating, gas and heartburn.