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Dietribes: Popsicles

"¢Â Like Band-Aids and Kleenex, Popsicle is a brand whose name we probably all substitute to mean any frozen treat on a stick. The Popsicle brand itself had humble and accidental beginnings: Apparently, in 1905, 11-year-old Frank Epperson left a mixture of powdered soda, water, and a stirring stick in a cup on his porch. It was a cold night, and Epperson awoke the next morning to find a frozen pop. He called it the "Epsicle," and later in life his own children started requesting "Pop's 'sicle." In 1923, Epperson changed the name and applied for a patent, eventually selling the rights to the brand name Popsicle® to the Joe Lowe Company in New York.

"¢Â What's better than one popsicle? Two! The twin ice pop was invented during the Great Depression, so two children could share an ice pop for just a nickel.
 
"¢Â So just what is it that you chew on after you finish your Popsicles? The sticks are made of birch wood. Or you can create something with them (and not just a paper puppet): using 15 million recycled Popsicle sticks and the help of about 5000 Dutch school children, a Dutch man made a replica Viking ship ... and sailed it to London!

"¢Â Cherry may be the current number one Popsicle flavor, but it may lose ground against Beer Popsicles, which one Washington restaurant has begun to serve, despite some controversial liquor law constraints.

"¢Â The biggest problem with Popsicles? The melting issue. Just ask Snapple: in 2005, the company attempted to beat the 10-ton mark for world's largest ice pop when the giant pop turned to mush ... and slushed into the streets of New York.

"¢Â Lollipops have prizes inside, so why not popsicles? Brazilian ice-cream company Kibon plans to manufacture 10,000 "prop"sicles, identical in size and color to real ice pops, and will contain a frozen iPod shuffle inside.

"¢Â If you thought that handing out vuvuzelas at a recent Florida Marlins game for a promotion was a little crazy, consider Ted Williams Popsicle Night. In June of 2003, when William's body was cryogenically frozen, an Arizona minor league team, the Bisbee-Douglas Copper Kings, gave popsicles to the first 500 fans.

"¢Â We humans are not the only ones who enjoy an icy summer treat - here are a few videos of hippos, a polar bear, and a baby panda enjoying some specially designed Popsicles just for them!

"¢Â Finally, a sweet story about a pitbull named Popsicle.
 
"¢Â Do you grown up Flossers still enjoy Popsicles? What are you favorite flavors, and do you ever make your own?

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

"˜Dietribes' appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

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Can You Really Lose Weight by Pooping? It Depends on What You Eat
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If you’re obsessed with either your scale or your bowel movements, you’ve probably wondered: How much of my weight is just poop? A teenage cousin of mine once spent an entire restaurant dinner arguing that he could lose up to 3 pounds if you just gave him a few minutes to sit on the toilet. As you might imagine, he was wrong. But not by that much, according to Thrillist, a site that’s been truly dominating the poop science beat lately.

You can indeed see the effects of a truly satisfying bowel movement reflected on your bathroom scale. (Wash your hands first, please.) But how much your feces weigh depends heavily on your diet. The more fiber you eat, the heavier your poop. Unfortunately, even the most impressive fecal achievement won't tip the scales much.

In 1992, researchers studying the effect of fiber intake on colon cancer risk wrote that the daily movements of poopers across the world could vary anywhere from 2.5 ounces to 1 pound. In their sample of 220 Brits, the median daily poop weighed around 3.7 ounces. A dietary intake of around 18 grams of dietary fiber a day typically resulted in a 5.3-ounce turd, which the researchers say is enough to lower the risk of bowel cancer.

A Western diet probably isn’t going to help you achieve your poop potential, mass-wise. According to one estimate, industrialized populations only eat about 15 grams of fiber per day thanks to processed foods. (Aside from ruining your bragging rights for biggest poop, this also wreaks havoc on your microbiome.) That's why those British poops observed in the study didn't even come close to 1 pound.

Poop isn’t the only thing passing through your digestive tract that has some volume to it. Surprisingly, your fabulous flatulence can be quantified, too, and it doesn’t even take a crazy-sensitive machine to do so. In a 1991 study, volunteers plied with baked beans were hooked up to plastic fart-capturing bags using rectal catheters. The researchers found that the average person farts around 24 ounces of gas a day. The average fart involved around 3 ounces of gas.

This doesn’t mean that either pooping or farting is a solid weight-loss strategy. If you’re hoping to slim down, losing a pound of poop won’t improve the way your jeans fit. Certainly your 24 ounces of gas won't. But to satisfy pure scientific curiosity, sure, break out that scale before and after you do your business. At least you'll be able to see if your fiber intake is up to snuff.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Why You Get Diarrhea When You're Hungover
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If your hangover mornings involve a lot of time sitting on the toilet, you're not alone. In addition to making you puke your guts out, drinking too much can also give you massive diarrhea the next day. Why? Thrillist talked to a gastroenterologist about the hangover poops, and found that it's a pretty common phenomenon, one caused by a combination of unusually fast-moving digestion.

When you drink, Urvish Shah told the site, alcohol increases what's called gut motility, the contractions that move food along your gastrointestinal tract. Combine this with the fact that booze inhibits vasopressin—the hormone that regulates water retention and prevents your kidneys from immediately dumping whatever liquid you drink into your bladder—and suddenly your guts have become a full-blown water slide.

All those cocktails take a fast-paced thrill ride down to your colon, where your gut bacteria throw a feast. The result is a bunch of gas and diarrhea you don't usually get when food and water are passing through your system a little more slowly. And because it's all rushing through you so fast, the colon isn't absorbing as much liquid as usual, giving you even more watery poops. If you haven't eaten, the extra acidity in your stomach from the booze can also irritate your stomach lining, causing—you guessed it—more diarrhea.

The more concentrated form of alcohol you drink, the worse it's going to be. If you really want to stay out of the bathroom the morning after that party, go ahead and take it easy on the shots. Because beer is so high in carbohydrates, though, Thrillist warns that that will cause gas and poop problems too as the bacteria in your gut start going to town on the undigested carbs that make it to your colon.

All in all, the only way to avoid a post-alcohol poop is to just stop drinking quite as much. Sorry, folks. If you want to rule Saturday night, you'll have to deal with the Sunday morning runs.

[h/t Thrillist]

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