McVitie’s Invented Digestives To Help Stop Flatulence

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 29 Oct 2020 15:35
McVitie's Invented Digestives To Help Stop FlatulencePA/Pexels

McVitie’s digestives are arguably one of the nation’s favourite biscuits, but it turns out the reason they were created wasn’t just for a sweet treat.

A fan of the biscuits myself, I’ve never thought twice about their unusual name – but it will soon all make sense.


In the new book The Biscuit: The History Of A Very British Indulgence by Lizzie Collingham, it’s revealed that McVitie’s created its digestives for, well, digestive purposes. Feel stupid? Me too. To be precise, digestives were created to reduce flatulence and help people with windy colic (aka bloating).


This was also confirmed by McVitie’s factory manager Paul Senior during a segment on the well-loved biscuit for The Great British Bake Off.

During the interview he said, ‘Literally the name digestives comes from reduction of flatulence.’


TV presenter Mel Giedroyc asked if it was still true today (2014, at the time of the interview), to which Senior replied, ‘Very much so.’

While many would think it’s the baking soda in the popular biscuits that are what helps reduce people’s wind, Post Doctoral Researcher for Food Science and Nutrition, Dr Michael Houghton, believes its more down to digestive’s fibre content that will help with flatulence.

Houghton told The Voice of London, ‘They do contain small amounts of fibre, which aids digestion, but to follow recommendations to increase our intake of dietary fibre there are definitely better sources.’


He continued, ‘Wholegrain cereals also contain a compound called ferulic acid, which we have shown recently in our lab to exert small but beneficial effects against diabetes and cardiovascular disease.’


While it may slightly help with flatulence, Houghton added it’s likely digestives’ sugar and fat content will ‘outweigh any benefit that might come from any whole grain that goes into the biscuits’.

Digestives might not totally help with wind, but they still taste pretty damn good.


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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Food, Life


The Voice of London and 1 other
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