The digestive system is quite incredible – 24 feet in length, with various intricate elements working in constant harmony. So it’s not surprising that the odd myth has sprung up surrounding this very complex organ. This week and next, we take a look at a few of the most common…
MYTH: “The tongue is the strongest muscle in the body”
The most powerful muscle for its size is the nearby masseter, or jaw muscle, which has a mechanical advantage because of the way the muscles attach to the jaw to form a lever.
MYTH: “It goes right through me!”
The time taken for food to travel all the way through the gut is generally in the region of two days. After a meal, it takes 4 to 5 hours for the stomach to empty fully, and about as long again for food to pass through the small intestine. Finally, passage through the large intestine takes 30 to 40 hours.
MYTH: “Bad breath is caused by stomach problems”
Up to a quarter of adults regularly have smelly breath but in virtually all cases it comes from their mouth and results from bacteria breaking down proteins, from food or injured tissue. Tooth decay, gum disease, food particles stagnating between the teeth, or simply dry mouth are key problems.