“Did You Know?” – Fun Facts about Health and How your Amazing Body Works

Here are some fun topics for conversation at your next cocktail party! Well, maybe not, but read on and you’re sure to learn a thing or two!

  • America’s most commonly consumed grain product is white bread
  • America’s favorite meat product is beef
  • America’s most commonly eaten vegetable is the potato in the form of french fries
  • A 12 ounce soft drink contains 10-12 teaspoons of sugar
  • Americans, on average, consume 103 pounds of sugar per year
  • Most brown sugar is really white sugar with molasses added for color and flavor
  • Prolonged Vitamin A deficiency can cause permanent blindness
  • Rice is the only starch that does not cause gas
  • The brain is 60% fat
  • Collagen is the most abundant protein in people and animals and gives skin and bones their elastic strength
  • You have almost 10,000 taste buds in your mouth. In general, females have more taste buds than males
  • When at work or play, muscles prefer to use glucose or glycogen for fuel.  This is stored carbohydrate
  • Your brain’s preferred fuel is glycogen (stored carbs) too!
  • When at rest, muscles prefer to use fat for fuel
  • Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Butter is a great example
  • Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, like oils
  • Dietary guidelines suggest you consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids per day. When you have a choice, choose the liquid fat over the solid fat for heart health
  • Fiber is an important part of your diet but your body can digest very little of it
  • Brain freeze, (that sharp pain in the mid-frontal part of the brain when you take a big bite of ice-cream) is caused when cold substances touch the back part of the palate, causing blood vessels to constrict (tighten). About 1/3 of the population experiences this.

Facts about the Stomach

  • Alcohol is absorbed directly from the stomach, so if you’re going to indulge at that cocktail party, be sure to eat something first. If your stomach is full, alcohol will be absorbed more slowly
  • The stomach empties in 1-4 hours depending on the amount and types of food eaten
  • Carbohydrates speed through the stomach in the shortest time, followed by protein and then fat. Therefore, a high fat meal will sit in your stomach longer
  • Digestion is started, but not completed in the stomach.  The stomach digests only 30-40% of carbs, 10-20% of protein and less than 10% of fat

Facts about the Small and Large Intestine

  • Digestion of fat, protein and most carbohydrate is completed in the small intestine
  • The small intestine packs a gigantic surface area into a small space. The length of the small intestine is about 10 feet long, but because of its many wrinkled folds and fingerlike projections, its absorptive surface area is more than 300 square yards, or the area of a tennis court!
  • Substances take 3-10 hours to journey through the small intestine
  • The large intestine is 5 feet long
  • Substances travel through the large intestine at a much slower rate:18 – 24 hours

Take Care of your Liver!

  • The liver is a detoxification center and filters toxic substances from the blood
  • The liver is a chemical factory, performing over 500 chemical functions to keep your body running smoothly
  • The liver is a warehouse that stores vitamins, hormones, cholesterol, minerals and sugars, releasing them to the bloodstream as needed

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Sources:

Insel,P., Ross,D., McMahon,K., Bernstein,M., Nutrition Fourth Edition. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett, 2013

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