June 17, 2011

What happens to food after we eat it?

When you eat food, the process of digestion breaks food down into it’s respective nutrients as we discussed before. Carbohydrates into monosaccharides (single units of sugars), protein into amino acids and fats into fatty acids. This process starts when you actually chew the food, the food then travels down into the stomach through the esophagus where it is liquified. When it reaches your small intestines, this is where the fun begins. Most of the digestion and absorption of the food occurs here in your small intestine. Digestive enzymes called lipase, amylase and protease act on fats, carbohydrates and protein to break them down into their nutrients for absorption. Once the food has been broken down into their simple units, they are then absorbed into the blood stream for further chemical changes to make other compounds that the body needs, or for use around the body. Water and small lipids (fats) cross the intestinal wall easily. Some nutrients such as water and fat soluble vitamins need a carrier to take them across the wall. Other nutrients such as proteins and glucose move across the wall and into the blood stream by themselves but use energy to do so.