Why Is My Stomach Growling?
You loved this article about why your stomach is growling!
Whoops! Was that really you? Right in the middle of a job interview, a lunch with a friend or – OMG – a steamy embrace, an embarrassing grrrrrr erupts from your stomach.
Mortifying? You bet. But if it’s any comfort, a gurgling tummy, or borborygmi (bore-bore-RIG-mee – isn’t that fun to say?) is perfectly normal. Actually, it’s not really your stomach that grumbles, but the area that’s a little further south. During digestion, the muscles of your large and small intestines contract, pushing along food and liquid. When air gets mixed in, it makes that telltale growling sound – or else it leaves the body through burping or passing gas. Without those charming eruptions, your belly would stretch like Octomom’s in her ninth month – so by comparison, a little embarrassment isn’t so bad.
You naturally swallow some air when you eat and drink, but excess air can also get into your system through chewing gum, smoking, sucking hard candy, drinking through straws, or even sniffling your way through a cold or allergies. High-fiber foods like whole-grain breads and beans; vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli; sodas and seltzers; and sugarless gum with the sweetener sorbitol can add to the problem. Why? These foods can’t be digested by the small intestine, so they end up in the large intestine, which uses bacteria to break them down. The process releases the gas that has been the subject of tasteless jokes since time immemorial.
If you find that your tummy rumbles more often when you eat certain foods, then cut back a little. Over-the-counter products like Beano or Lactaid can make it easier to digest beans or dairy products, if those are a problem for you.
And here’s a big tip: Although it’s a common belief that rumbling indicates hunger, that’s not necessarily true. Growling can happen at any time during the digestive process, so don’t automatically assume it’s time to eat. Make sure you’re really hungry before you go for a nosh.