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The Ins and Outs of Burping

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Have you ever been sitting in the middle of the cafeteria, enjoying your lunch break when out comes a loud belch? It's too late to cover your mouth, and besides, all your friends and the cutie sitting at the table already heard you. Where did that come from?

Burps or belches are simply the sound of gas leaving your body. When you scarf down food or even nibble on it, you also swallow air. You'd be amazed at how much air you're really sucking down your throat. If you're drinking pop with your meal, you're also swallowing another gas - carbon dioxide which is full of bubbles. Those bubbles in your body don't just float around. They need to go somewhere.

Extra gas escapes from the stomach, travels up the esophagus and comes out the mouth. It doesn't usually leave slowly. Gas can quickly escape which is why we can't always cover our mouth in time. Burps have little to do with farts. Farts are the sounds and smells of gas that get out through the anus. Farts may only take 30 to 45 minutes to travel through your body, but burps travel even faster. During the day you probably burp or fart at least 10 to 15 times. Stinky!

If you want to be able to burp the alphabet - or your fave Madonna song - here's the secret. The more air you swallow the longer and louder your burp is gonna be. So swallow some air and then belch out a tune!

Did you know that cows burp a lot? It was only awhile ago when researchers started taking an interest in this. Every year the cows in the US burp about 50 million tons of valuable gases into the atmosphere. If these gases could be caught and directed, the burps of ten average cows could keep a small house heated for a year. Those are some pretty powerful burps.

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