Recent studies, however, have revealed how truly detrimental the practice is. Those toxins and pounds of festering, impacted fecal matter. With each "cleansing," you are flushing away beneficial bacteria and electrolytes. Emergency rooms regularly see patients who have hurt themselves by cleansing. Common side effects are dehydration, rectal perforations, air emboli, blood infections and a loss of the ability to control the muscles of the bowels.

There are no toxins in the colon that get absorbed in the blood to cause disease. This theory of autointoxication was proven incorrect more than 100 years ago. These toxins now reside in a virtual form on the Internet on hydrotherapy websites promoting, well, nothing but crap. The myth that it's healthy to sit on the toilet for a prolonged time pervades popular culture.

The author Henry Miller dedicated a chapter in his 1952 tome "The Books in My Life" to reading custom college essay service the toilet. Even an episode of the sitcom "Seinfeld" featured the character George being forced to buy an expensive picture book that he took into the bookstore's restroom to read. And magazines are found so often in people's personal bathrooms that one might think it is natural, or even beneficial, to relax on the toilet.

Not so, for two reasons. Studies have shown a connection between toilet reading and hemorrhoids. The theory, dating back to a 1974 study, is that prolonged toilet sitting during which the anus is relaxed, followed by repeated straining, irritates the tissues surrounding the rectum that help control bowel movements, called anal cushions. This can lead to hemorrhoids, or inflamed veins in this area. A study published in The Lancet in 1989 reported that patients with hemorrhoids were more than twice likely to read on the toilet.

What's not clear, however, is whether prolonged toilet sitting causes hemorrhoids, or is the result of this. Nevertheless, doctors recommend more dietary fiber, not more sitting, to facilitate bulkier and faster bowel movements. The second reason toilet reading is a problem is filth. Myriad studies reveal how reading material and smart phones get contaminated with fecal matter when used on the toilet. It's hard to wash an iPhone. Seems like this one is aligned with the laws of physics: The more that comes out means the less you are carrying around. Alas, it isn't quite so. Many people take laxatives or drink "dieter's tea" with the hope of pooping out more of those calories.

The problem with this approach, though, is that calorie absorption takes place largely in the small intestine. Laxatives do their thing in the large intestine, or colon. But what we are witnessing is the effect of a high-fiber diet, in which insoluble fiber provides a feeling of satiety without contributing many calories. That fiber comes in whole grains, beans, vegetable and vegetable skins, seeds and nuts - features of an Asian diet. High-fiber foods pack fewer calories per pound compared to low-fiber foods, such as meat and processed foods - hallmarks of a Western diet.

Follow Christopher Wanjek wanjekfor daily tweets on health and science with a humorous edge. Wanjek is the author of "Food at Work" and "Bad Medicine. Christopher Wanjek is the Bad Medicine columnist for Live Science and a health and science writer based near Washington, He is the author of two health books, "Food at Work" 2005 and "Bad Medicine" 2003and a comical science novel, "Hey Einstein" 2012. For Live Science, Christopher covers public health, nutrition and biology, and he occasionally opines with a great deal of healthy skepticism.

His "Food at Work" book and project, commissioned by the Christopher has presented this book in more than 20 countries and has inspired the passage of laws to support custom college essay service meal programs in numerous countries. Christopher holds a Master of Health degree from Harvard School of Public Health and a degree in journalism from Temple University.

He has two Twitter handles, wanjek for science and lostlenowriter for jokes. Poo may not smell like roses, but it shouldn't smell like a rotting swamp of roses, either. Fiber promotes stool regularity and vacates the body with impressive efficiency. Editor's Recommendations Poop Sausage to Pee Drinks: 7 Gross 'Human Foods' Through custom college essay service Years: A Gallery of the World's Toilets Pee a Rainbow: Scientist Snaps Shot of Colorful Urine tmntag. Christopher Wanjek, on tmntag. But if fishing is not your avenue of feeling peace and serenity or thrill and excitement, you probably buy fish at the supermarket every now and then.

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