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Sunday 29th May 2016
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Do you need gravity to digest food?


Do you need gravity to aid digestion? If you hung upside down, would the food be digested? And how do they eat in space?
Steve, Belmont


** Definitive **
Name: Professor Hal
Qualification: Mystery Hour Stalker and Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Brighton
Answer: You don’t need gravity for your digestive system to function. When you swallow, the food doesn’t just fall down your gullet, it is pushed down by a process called peristalsis, in which muscles contract and grip the food, a bit like getting the last bit of toothpaste in the tube. Plus, what goes into your body later, will push through what went in previously. That’s why you often go to the toilet after breakfast.

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