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Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 12.41.30 PMHow much do you know about your tummy? Can you separate the fact from fiction?

From those burning, churning feelings that erupt whenever we eat our favorite foods, to the bloating that keeps us from zipping up our jeans, to the gas that can make us the most unpopular person in the elevator, our stomach can be the cause of some major inconveniences, if not some outright health concerns.

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Still, experts say most folks know painfully little about how their stomach and their digestive tract operates — one reason that solving tummy troubles can seem much harder than it has to be.

Try to separate the myths from the truth to see how much you really know about how to keep your tummy healthy and happy.

1. Digestion takes place primarily in the stomach.

Myth. The major part of the digestive process takes place in the small intestine. The stomach takes in the food, then churns it and breaks it into tiny particles called “chyme.” The chyme are then released in small batches into the small intestine, where most digestion occurs. Contrary to popular belief, foods do not digest in the order they are eaten. Everything lands in the stomach where it’s all churned together, and when it’s ready it’s released into the small intestines together.

2. If you cut down on your food intake, you’ll eventually shrink your stomach so you won’t be as hungry.

Myth. Once you are an adult, your stomach pretty much remains the same size — unless you have surgery to intentionally make it smaller. Eating less won’t shrink your stomach, but it can help to reset your “appetite thermostat” so you won’t feel as hungry, and it may be easier to stick with your eating plan.

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