Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I tend to read a lot more fiction than nonfiction books; however, a nonfiction author that I always read her new books is Mary Roach. The most recent book of hers, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, was not an exception. Mary Roach is known for asking questions that everyone is thinking and wanting to know but do not know how to get the answers. I always discover new facts and interests when reading her books. Below are some of the most captivating facts in Gulp.

Questions answered in this book: Could thorough chewing lower the national debt? If salvia is full of bacteria, why do animals lick their wounds? Why don’t suicide bombers smuggle bombs in their rectums? Why don’t stomachs digest themselves? Why is crunchy food so appealing? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis?
  • Humans are better equipped for sight than for smell.
  • An oenologist is a wine scientist.
  • Thanks to 18 Canadians, a canned-cat-food flavor lexicon and a set of tasting protocols have been established through their dedication to good tasting cat food. Part of the protocol is that one has to move the cat food sample around the mouth and chew for 10 to 15 seconds, and a portion of the sample has to be swallowed.
  • Cats are mostly monoguesic, meaning they stick to one food; therefore, changing their food is not advised.
  • There are clients who have marketed food for cats (whom are true carnivores) that is 100% vegetarian.
  • Cats cannot taste sweetness; so that's more cupcakes for you.
  • Rodents are slaves to sweetness. There are strains of mice that will, over the course of a day, consume their own body weight in diet soda….have fun cleaning their cages!
  • Humans have taste receptor cells in the gut, the voice box, the upper esophagus, but only the tongue’s receptors report to the brain.
  • The word 'trichobezoars' means human hair ball.
  • The Fletcher system was once admired and implemented. It’s when one masticates all solid food until it is completely liquefied. So basically once you finished “chewing” your breakfast, it would almost be time for lunch.
  • Vinegar, cola, citrus juices, wine, all are in the acid range of the pH scale: from around 2 to 3. Anything under a pH of 4 will dissolve calcium phosphate, a key component in our tooth enamel.
  • Infant drool could be used to prevent food stains.
  • Laundry detergent is essentially a digestive tract in a box.
  • In this book you will find out exactly why infants drools continuously.
  • Rodent salvia contains nerve growth factor and skin growth factor.
  • Chinese men spit so much because they think it’s disgusting to use handkerchiefs or Kleenexes to collect phlegm in their hands.
  • The study of oral processing is not just about the teeth. It’s about the entire “oral device”: teeth, tongue, lips, cheeks, saliva, all working together toward a singular goal: bolus formation.
  • Chewing and spitting (or CHSP) is participated by about 8% of bulimic patients.
  • Hotdogs, grapes and round candies take the top three slots in a list of killer foods.
  • A professor in California tried to have hot dogs declared as a public health issue.
  • The main reason people have such a strong appeal to eating crunchy foods is that crispness and crunch signal freshness; therefore, to a certain extent we eat with our ears.
  • Transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxation, or TLESR, is just a fancy way of saying someone burped.
  • The consumption record for many foods exceeds eight and even ten pounds; however, no one has been able to eat more than four pounds of fruit cake.
  • 'Dyspeptics' are people whose stomachs hurt after a meal.
  • The slang for the rectum is “prison wallet.”
  • Spelling correctly is very important: per anum means “by way of the anus,” whereas, per annum means “yearly.” Therefore, an extra 'n' makes a HUGE difference!
  • 'Grumous' means clotted or lumpy.
  • 'Glabrous' means smooth and hairless.
  • 'Periblepsis' is the wild look of delirium.
  • 'Maculate' means spotted.
  • Cows don’t belch.
  • The most expensive coffee beans in the world sells for about $200 a pound are those that have been passed through the digestive tract of the civet (a catlike animal native to Indonesia).

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