Belching, the act of expelling air from the stomach through the mouth, is a common bodily function that occurs many times throughout the day. It often accompanies meals or drinks and is sometimes considered impolite in certain cultures. However, have you ever wondered how many calories you burn when you burp? In this article, we will discuss the science behind belching and how many calories one can burn while doing so.
The physiology of belching
Belching, also known as burping or eructation, is the act of expelling gas from the stomach through the mouth. The gas that is expelled is mostly made up of air that has been swallowed while eating or drinking. Additionally, it can consist of gases produced by the digestive system, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and methane. Belching is a normal bodily function and is usually not a cause for concern.
Belching occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes, allowing the gas to escape from the stomach and pass out of the body via the mouth. The LES is a ring of muscle located between the esophagus and stomach that acts as a barrier to prevent stomach contents from refluxing into the esophagus.
Moreover, belching is a form of gastric venting that is essential for releasing excess gas from the stomach. If the gas is not expelled, it can lead to bloating, discomfort, and in some cases, pain.
The number of calories burned when burping
When it comes to the number of calories burned when belching, it may surprise you to learn that it is a negligible amount. In fact, belching burns only a tiny fraction of calories when compared to other bodily functions.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, the average person burns only 0.2 calories every time they burp. This is because burping is a passive process that requires minimal energy expenditure. Even if one were to belch repeatedly, the number of calories burned would still be too few to have any meaningful impact on weight loss.
Factors that affect belching
Amount of gas in the stomach
The amount of gas present in the stomach is one of the primary factors that influence the number of times a person belches. If there is excess gas in the stomach, it will put pressure on the LES, forcing it to relax and allow the gas to escape through the mouth, resulting in belching. Eating too quickly, drinking carbonated beverages or chewing gum can all increase the amount of gas in the stomach.
Certain medical conditions can also lead to belching. These include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In these cases, burping may be accompanied by other symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
How to reduce belching?
If you are experiencing excessive belching or bloating, there are several things you can do to alleviate the symptoms. These include:
- Eating and drinking slowly
- Avoiding carbonated beverages
- Chewing food properly
- Avoiding chewing gum
- Avoiding smoking
- Avoiding foods known to cause gas such as beans, broccoli, and cabbage
- Reducing stress levels
- Keeping a food diary to identify trigger foods
The bottom line
Belching is a normal bodily function that occurs many times throughout the day. While it may be considered impolite in certain cultures, it is essential for releasing excess gas from the stomach. Moreover, belching burns only a fraction of calories and has no meaningful impact on weight loss. Excessive belching or bloating can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, and if accompanied by other symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention.
Common questions and their answers
- What causes belching?
- How much gas is normal to burp?
- Does burping burn calories?
- Is excessive burping a sign of an underlying medical condition?
Belching is caused by the release of gas from the stomach through the mouth. This gas can consist of air that has been swallowed while eating or drinking or gases produced by the digestive system, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and methane.
The amount of gas a person burps can vary depending on several factors such as diet, eating habits, and medical conditions. It is usually considered normal to burp up to 25 times a day.
Yes, burping burns calories but only a negligible amount. According to a study, the average person burns only 0.2 calories every time they burp.
Excessive burping can be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), lactose intolerance, celiac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Horowitz, M., Edelbroek, M. A., Wishart, J. M., Straathof, J. W., & Dent, J. (1992). Relationship between oral and gastric transit times and gastro-oesophageal reflux in diabetes mellitus. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 7(2), 138-143.
- Rao, S. S., Yu, S., Fedewa, A. (2018). Systematic review: dietary fibre and FODMAP-restricted diet in the management of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 47(3), 292-302.
- Wanke, M., Hellerbrand, C., Wiest, R., & Saller, R. (2015). Medical therapy of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift, 140(10), 726-731.