We've got some bad news for those of you who enjoy settling in with some good chick lit during your daily constitutional. According to Giulia Enders, a microbiologist, and author of Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ, you shouldn't be pooping sitting down. Instead, you should squat.
Sitting prolongs the whole pooping process, Enders told the Guardian. And while that might sound like fun if you're looking to hide away from your husband, it's not good for your health.
"This is because the closure mechanism of the gut is not designed to 'open the hatch completely' when we're sitting down or standing up: it's like a kinked hose," Enders said.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 she explained: "When you sit or stand, there's a muscle that goes around the end of the colon and it pulls, so there's a curve," meaning it stops the flow and makes it more difficult for you to rid your body of last night's french fries.
"Squatting is far more natural and puts less pressure on our bottoms."
She continued, "1.2 billion people around the world who squat have almost no incidence of diverticulosis and fewer problems with piles. We in the west, on the other hand, squeeze our gut tissue until it comes out of our bottoms."
"When we're in a squatting position, and have a little stool in front of the toilet, then the angle is even and straight, so there's less pressure needed," Enders explains.
Ender's goes on to say that the gastrointestinal tract, a.k.a. "the brain's most important adviser" that affects not just digestive but also mental health, is the "most unappreciated part of the body."
The book also contains some fascinating sphincter sweet talk that'll make you think twice about holding it in.
There are two sphincters, you see. The one we can open and close just by putting our minds to it, and then an inner one which is operated unconsciously. This ani internus sends a signal into the area between the inner and outer sphincter for the sensor cells to decide if it's "safe" to let out a little gas or to go forth and poop. "Yep, your boyfriend left the room, let er rip," or "Nope, you're a mile from that rest stop, do not release bowels." However, if you ignore your inner sphincter too many times (like when a co-worker walks into the bathroom while you're trying to politely do your business and you get too shy to finish the mission), your inner sphincter shuts off which can lead to constipation and we all know what happens after that. Hello, belly bloat!
Enders said, "Learning about those two sphincters really changed my perspective on life. Those inner nerves don't care for other people; they have no eyes or ears. Finally, something that only thinks of me! So, now I can go to the toilet anywhere. I worship that muscle!"
The moral of the story? Everybody poops. But start squatting to do it more efficiently.
[H/T The Guardian]