The lowdown on burping
Burping is the body’s way of ridding itself of excess air. “It’s physiologic,” explains Dr Dan Sadowski, a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Alberta and gastroenterologist. “The stomach has a way of venting excess gas into the oesophagus, which in turn makes its way out of the mouth.”
According to Sadowski, a common misconception is that burping is the product of digestion in the stomach – that somehow foods that are being digested produce gas. That, however, is not the case. “Actually, all of the gas that you burp up is swallowed,” he says, adding that simply eating and drinking cause you to swallow air that needs to be released.
Here are some causes of excessive burping – and how to curb them.
You’re chewing gum too often
A 2015 study found that those participants who chewed gum burped significantly more than those who didn’t. That’s because when you chew gum, you swallow some air with each chew. That air ends up in your oesophagus, which then exits and causes you to burp, says Sadowski.
This is known as supragastric belching, one of two forms of burping. The other is gastric belching, the release of air from the stomach. It tends to be smellier than supragastric belching and is usually caused by consuming alcohol, high-fat foods, chocolate or peppermint.
You’re drinking a lot of fizzy drinks or carbonated water
If you’re a big fan of fizzy drinks and find you’re burping excessively, the carbonation in your drink is likely the culprit. Carbonated beverages – which include soft drink, seltzer, mineral water and beer – add a lot of air to the stomach. And if you drink them with a straw, you’re compounding the problem, as even more air is added to the equation. Artificial sweeteners and caffeinated beverages can also lead to frequent belching.
The solution? Dr Sadowski recommends you take it easy on carbonated drinks if you’re burp-prone. But if you’re really craving that Diet Coke, pour it into a glass rather than drinking it with a straw – this will cut down on the carbonation.
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