Please Explain: Digestion

Friday, December 11, 2009

After all this talk of food, we’ll learn how it’s processed by the body for this week’s edition of Please Explain. Dr. Ira Breite, Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, joins us, along with Dr. David Seres, nutrition specialist in the Division of Preventive Medicine and Nutrition Columbia University Medical Center.


Dr. Ira Breite, and Dr. David Seres,

Comments [44]

Monir from Queens

Does excercise has anything to do with digestion?
If yes, then when and what kind ?

Dec. 13 2009 09:54 AM
Bob from NYC

Re peristalsis, is it possible to lose that function to the extent that it is impaired in the lowest portion of the bowel so that extra means must be used - manual or pharmaceutical - for elimination to occur?

If so, can habitual use of such means further destroy natural peristalsis? And if so, can this be reversed or corrected?

Thank you.

Dec. 11 2009 02:14 PM
Bob from NYC

In re to peristalsis, is it possible for loss of this process to occur only in the lowest part of the colon, such that extra means must be taken to eliminate stool? ... manual and/or medical.?
If so, does long-time use of extraneous means further damage peristalsis?

If so, is there any way to reverse this situation?

Thank you.

Dec. 11 2009 02:08 PM
kenneth from new york

what is the exact cause of hic-cups with digestion. For several months I would get episodes which would last for sometimes two days. I tried everything including the website 50 ways to get rid of hic-cups the only thing that would finally work was Thorazine....which is what they give schizophrenics

Dec. 11 2009 01:57 PM
Rani from Manhattan

Is it true that stress can produce acid in your stomach, and that this can be related to migraines? I'm asking because that's the theory in Ayurvedic medicine.

Dec. 11 2009 01:55 PM
Steve M from Morris Township, NJ

Fatty foods and alcohol go well together, not because the drink "loosens you up" as your guest suggested but rather has to do with the acidity of the alcohol (say wine) cutting through the fattiness of the meal.

Dec. 11 2009 01:55 PM
antonio from park slope

what are the best foods and practices to keep your system 1000%....

Dec. 11 2009 01:54 PM

is there a limit to for how long i can take prilosec or some similar medication? i was advised that i can take it (once in the morning) continuously, as opposed to stopping every few weeks or months. (note: prilosec & now prevacid are now available otc).


Dec. 11 2009 01:54 PM
Susan K from N. Bellmore, NY

Proponents of "high colonics" claim that fecal matter stays lodged in the colon for a long period of time. Is that true?

Dec. 11 2009 01:54 PM
Nina from E.V.

Please ask about Crohn's disease....

Dec. 11 2009 01:53 PM
rn from New York, New York

What is the effectiveness of taking red yeast rice in lowering bad cholesteral.

does it work the same as lipitur?

Dec. 11 2009 01:53 PM
Albana from NYC

Hello, is it true that the type of bacteria in each body might be a factor whether you might be gain more weight vs. less weight eating the same food?

Dec. 11 2009 01:52 PM
Chem from NJ

Do we need silica dioxide in our diets?>

Dec. 11 2009 01:51 PM
Jon P. from The Garden State

How are supplements absorbed (or not absorbed) in the digestive system?

Dec. 11 2009 01:51 PM
Barry Jackson from Montclair NJ

I understand the appropriate amounts of wine helps digestion; is that true?

Dec. 11 2009 01:50 PM
Melinda Hunt from East Village

How do you treat the muscle spasms associated with acid reflux?

Dec. 11 2009 01:50 PM
Amy from Manhattan

You've talked about flatulence, but I'm wondering if there's anything different about the gas in a burp? Do the same things that help w/flatulence also reduce belching?

And has anything new been learned about the appendix & whether it has some function after all?

Dec. 11 2009 01:49 PM

I drink water often (4-5 16oz. bottles of poland spring) a day. I suffered from constipation all my life. Recently I went to a nutritionist and she suggested taking magnesium pills. It is the best suggestion I had ever been told. Works great! and I don't get migraines any more either. My question, is there any harm taking magnesium daily?
Tahnk you

Dec. 11 2009 01:49 PM
Seth from New York

Does Kombucha really improve your digestion?

Dec. 11 2009 01:48 PM
antonio from park slope

Is it true that different foods take longer to digest?

Any evidence that the digestive system has evolved from anrnie to present humans?

Dec. 11 2009 01:47 PM
db from nyc

... how about runners' GERD? Is there an effective treatment? Diet modification?

Dec. 11 2009 01:47 PM
Michael Boonstra from East village

I've had bleeding problems with bowel movements and seepage so that I have to use liners. Gastroenterologist does a colonoscopy and says I'm OK but never addresses my problem. Metamusel made it worse. I take fish oil Omega 3 every day and eat a combination of flax, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with yogurt every day. Any advice?

Dec. 11 2009 01:47 PM
Nina from E.V.

What causes Crohn's disease? What should one do if one has been diagnosed with Crohn's but shows no symptoms?

Dec. 11 2009 01:46 PM
Albana from NYC

Is there a good book to recommend on Digestion that is easy to read?

Dec. 11 2009 01:46 PM
David from Upper West Side

What is the role of BURPING in digestion? My girlfriend says U burp a lot, but I don't even realize I do often times. Does this suggest a problem with my diet or need for more exercise, or is it just a quirk of my body vs others...

Dec. 11 2009 01:46 PM
yourgo from astoria


My grandmother use to tell us that 'a fart a day keeps the doctor away''

Dec. 11 2009 01:46 PM
Jeff from Manhattan


Dec. 11 2009 01:44 PM
Jerome from Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

I have read in some "health nut"-type books (smile!) that mixing certain food categories when eating leads to poor health because some of these mixtures--starches and fruit; fruit and meats; sugars and heavy proteins; some folks say even starches and meats--lead to slower digestion and some of the food...uh...putrefying in the gut.

I have noticed that eating dessert too soon after a meal with a lot of meat leads to my feeling overly full for a while afterwards--but is there actually anything unhealthy about mixing such foods in meals (which is quite common to most cultures)?

Dec. 11 2009 01:43 PM
Marilyn Murray from New Jersey

I suffered chronically from flatulence until I finally had my appendix removed (acute appendicitis) I had suffered from many spells of colic until the surgery.

Dec. 11 2009 01:40 PM
Steve from Manhattan

Why aren't your nutrition specialists mentioning lactose intolerance? After the age of 50, most people develop some degree of lactose intolerance, because of the decreasing inability to digest milk products; and the most common symptom of this flatulence. (I only recently learned about this from a gastro-enterologist.)

Dec. 11 2009 01:39 PM
Kate from Brooklyn

My father always tells me not to drink water when I'm eating. Is there anything to this advice?

Dec. 11 2009 01:37 PM
John Martello from Bethpage NY

I would be very interested in your guest’s thoughts on colon cleansing products.

Dec. 11 2009 01:36 PM
csh from NJ

Your guest's comment about turkey's not having much fat and therefore being healthy is the kind of thing that contributes to the confusion around what is and isn't healthy about fat.

A little known fact is that polyunsaturated fats, salad oils, may contribute to breast and prostate cancer.

Saturated fat is not a demon.

Omega 3 fats are usually deficient in the diet.

Please comment about people without gallbladders and how they can have fat malsbsorption.


Dec. 11 2009 01:32 PM
Troy from Carroll Gardens

I've been told that raw foods are easier to digest than cooked foods, but that seems counter-intuitive to me. Something about self-digesting enzymes? But I know from personal experience that when I tried to go raw I lasted all of one day because my body freaked out. Which is it though? Easier or harder?

Dec. 11 2009 01:31 PM
RLewis from bowery

I've heard that it takes 24 hours for food to digest, so why then, when I eat something bad, does it work its way out in under an hour?

Dec. 11 2009 01:30 PM
Pamela from Brooklyn

I remember when I was pregnant, I heard that digestion was slowing down so that my body could get all the nutrients for the growing baby. Why isn't digestion that efficient ALL the time? Do our bodies just routinely pass up available nutrients?

Dec. 11 2009 01:29 PM
Phyllis Wrynn from Park Slope

• Is it true that fruit takes about 30 minutes, vegetables about 45 minutes, meats much digest?
• Is it true that it is better NOT to eat different food categories together...for improved digestion?
• Is it true that eating fruit first thing in the morning and alone will "wake up the liver"?

Dec. 11 2009 01:26 PM

Carrie, listen to LL show from Nov. 26, 2009!!

Dec. 11 2009 01:25 PM
Michae from Brooklyn

Why do we get heartburn?

Dec. 11 2009 01:25 PM
Barbara Sulcov from Westchester

Why do I get heart palpitations that last for hours after drinking wine and vodka but not beer? The heart palpitations last for at least 10 hours. I am in my early 50s, is this related to menopause?

Dec. 11 2009 01:24 PM
Carrie from Maplewood, NJ

How has cooking our food played a part in human evolution? Our ancestors ate raw food diets- are our modern digestion systems much different from our ancestors because we started cooking at some point?

Dec. 11 2009 01:23 PM

Please talk about the importance of chewing well.

Dec. 11 2009 01:21 PM
x from NYC

Everyone knows that bacteria plays an important role in digestion. Any bacteria? Which one or which mix is "healthy"?

How important is to be "regular"? What effect has constipation on weight gain/loss, if any?

Dec. 11 2009 01:07 PM
George from Bay Ridge

Is the old wives' tale about swallowing gum true?

Why were we told to wait before swimming?

What causes a stomachache? How does Pepto Bismol work?

What causes vomiting?

Dec. 11 2009 04:38 AM

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