by Sven Triloqvist
Wed Apr 26th, 2006 at 03:57:55 AM EST
Flatulence is caused by bacteria that live in the large intestine breaking down parts of food - such as soluble fibre - that have not been digested higher in the gut. When bacteria in the large intestine react to certain types of carbohydrates, called oligosaccharides, they produce a mix of gases that includes methane and certain sulphur-containing gases - which is what makes wind smell. The average adult produces four to five litres of gas a day. What? Holy Mackerel!
more if you dare...
Wind of change for bean-eaters
In Finland, that would mean 25 million litres of gas every day.
Is this an energy source we have overlooked? Or is it another threat to the ozone layer? Has J factored this into his calculations? Will there be a chart?
Catherine Collins, spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, told BBC News Online oligosaccharides were good for the gut because when the bacteria react to them, they help keep the immune system working effectively.
Experts make flatulence-free bean
"The immune system is in a state of readiness. When it meets something like salmonella, it very quickly leaps into action and gets rid of it."
Without the oligosaccharides, the gut's immune system would deal with serious infections less well.
Glenn Gibson, a food microbiologist at Reading University, added: "Flatulence is an important indicator of a healthy gut system. It's only a social problem. You need to expel gas to ensure your gut is functioning properly."
Thank you, Glenn, for reassuring me that my gut is working properly.
It's a guy thing
What is it that two blokes who are close friends feel they can let rip in each other's company? I'm sorry girls, but this is how we guys bond. It is disgusting. But it makes us laugh. It makes us into little boys again.
Le Petomane (is there a cidilla or circumflex in there somewhere?)
How could a virtual unknown outsell the legendary Sarah Bernhardt and have audiences paralysed with laughter, tears running down their eyes and cheeks? To understand this late 19th Century phenomenon, it is necessary to describe something that years ago would not have found its way into print. In short, he farted.
Le Petomane gave his first professional performance in 1887, aged 30, at the Boulevard Chavre. He developed the act in the provinces until he reached Paris in 1892. It was an immediate success. Joseph Pujol aka Le Petomane was an obscure performer who drew Parisians in their thousands to the premier variety theatre.
The audience were at first astounded. Then there would be an uncontrollable laugh, followed by more until the whole audience was wriggling in their seats, convulsed. Women, bound rigid in corsets, were escorted from the hall by nurses, cleverly placed by the manager so that they could he seen in their bright white uniforms.
Joe could blow over a brick standing on end.
I always thought that the longest fart appeared in a fabulous French movie called La Grande Bouffe (1973) (What is it about your windy Frenchies anyway?). Plot Outline: A group of men hire some prostitutes and go to a villa in the countryside. There, they engage in group sex and resolve to eat themselves to death. Michel Piccoli, playing Michel (all characters had the same names as their actors) appears on a balcony at one point after a series of sumptuous feasts and lays down an anal fugue that is long enough to encompass an alphabetic litany of every dramatic device from bombast to crescendo.
That was until I met the great Finnish restaurateur, Alexander, who produced a timed marathon of 17 seconds. Hard to believe, but I have two witnesses with accurate watches.
Farting is as old as the hills. It will only stop when we have to spend all our time in space suits. I was on an expedition in the Matto Grosso in the late Sixties. About as far from civilization as you can get - on the Xingu River. All we had to eat were rice and beans, supplemented by game or fish as an occasional treat - but with 26 Indians and three of us palefaces to feed it wasn't often. We went to our hammocks at 6pm when it got dark, to conserve fuel. The Coyabe Indians (who kept the camp running) had a long open sided hut, and every night I could hear them farting and then giggling. And then another one tried to outdo the last.