Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Ryan from Los angles, PA. Ryan Wonders, “Why do we burp?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Ryan!

Much like a sneeze, a burp is your body's way of taking care of itself.

A burp is really nothing more than the sound of gas escaping your body. When you drink or eat, you also swallow air.

As you continue to eat or drink and therefore continue to swallow air, the gasses build up in your stomach until your body releases them in the form of a belch or burp.

One of the most common causes of burping is eating too fast. The faster you eat, the more likely you are to swallow extra air. Fizzy carbonated beverages, such as sodas, contain tiny gas bubbles, which also can increase the chances of burping.

Some facts about burping:

  • In some cultures, burping after a meal is a compliment to the cook.
  • The official medical term for burping is "eructation."
  • Researchers estimate that cows in the United States burp 50 million tons of valuable gasses into the atmosphere each year. If those gasses could be collected, the annual burps of only 10 cows would provide enough energy to heat a small home for an entire year!
  • Unfortunately, because those gasses cannot be collected, farm animals produce so much gas that scientists consider them to be a major contributor to the greenhouse effect.

If you're WONDERing what causes air to pass from your opposite end, it's the same thing: eating and drinking. Passing gas, or flatulence, is caused when your digestive tract breaks down the foods and beverages you consume. Good bacteria reside in your intestines. These bacteria break down your food and, in the process, produce stinky waste in the form of hydrogen sulfide gas that must exit your body.

Wonder What's Next?

The countdown has begun! Get ready to blast off tomorrow with Wonderopolis as we take a sneak peek inside an astronaut’s kitchen.