As mealtime approaches, we very often hear our stomach rumbling. How to explain this phenomenon which, despite what we think, actually has nothing to do with being hungry?
Misconception: the belly starts to gurgle as the meal approaches because you are hungry. This popular belief is actually false and even if these noises that our belly makes occur when approaching the meal, it has nothing to do with hunger. In fact, we hear it more at this time because our digestive system is empty of food. So where does the rumbling belly come from?
In the course of food in our body, the digestive system practices peristalsis, namely the triggering of muscle contractions to help the bolus of food move through the different parts of the digestive system. But this food bolus (chewed food coated with saliva) is accompanied by gas and air. During muscle contractions, small pockets of gas are created and compressed, causing these noises called gurgling.
These noises therefore occur at any time during the day, but when food is still present in the digestive system, these noises are muffled. It is only when our stomach is empty that we hear them, usually near meals. But if the stomach is empty and therefore there is nothing to digest, why are there still muscle contractions?
In fact, about two hours before the stomach is truly empty, hormones are produced to stimulate nerve structures to alert the brain. This will then respond by signaling the digestive muscles to restart the peristalsis process, in order to evacuate any remains of the previous bolus of food, but also to create vibrations in the empty stomach which will stimulate the feeling of hunger. .
It is then that the muscle contractions resume in sessions of 10 to 20 minutes every hour until you eat again.