Latest Reading – Gulp: Adventures in the Alimentary Canal

I haven’t read many books about science lately, and it was refreshing to get back into it. The author, Mary Roach’s book Gulp was an informative, and entertaining read. I learned a lot of facts (summarized below) and she also put her personality into the book with humorous sentences interspersed in the writing and footnotes. It gave me “food for thought” to the workings of my digestive system. This book is really great for any biology or general science teachers and also easy to read for the general public. I never really thought of the digestive track to be one, long tube, but that is what it is.There are hundreds of interesting facts and stories. Below are some facts I found interesting in the book.

  • 5 tastes, but infinite odors – 80-90 % of the pleasure of eating is smell
  • Dogs put their heads out car windows because it is an awesome way to smell
  • Le Nez Du Vin – kits for learning specific smells
  • We only smell 5-10 % of inhaled air (imagine if it was more)
  • Average person only eats 30 differen food – 4-day repertoire
  • Eating animal organs are good for u – packed with nutrients, the most on earth – wild animals eat organs first
  • Saliva raises pH of food – antibacterial as well
  • Detergent and fabric softeners are digestive enzymes
  • Colds transmitted thru fingers more than mouth – don’t pick your nose
  • Hot dogs, grapes, round candies top 3 choking hazards – resulting in death of young children
  • Bristol Stool Scale – classifying shape and consistency of stool
  • Anus can tell if it is a solid liquid or gas and is rich in nerves
  • Flatulance 80% H 1/3 people CH4 as well
  • Beyond suckling there is no reason for absorbing lactose, so people should not drink milk
  • A person farts on avg. 22 times per day
  • Biggest risk factor in colon cancer is amount one eats – fiber does not help
  • Why does aspirin only inflame in stomach?
  • morning breath is H2S, bacteria eating shed tongue cells and there is no saliva to wash them away
  • Ecoli, Staph bacteria only aerobic type in stools;
  • colon, anus cancer taboo
  • Enteric nervous system is a primitive brain for the digestive system and immune system

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