Food follows a specific path when being digested and it goes through the same process regardless of its content. However, different macronutrients do get more attention at certain points in the digestive tract.
As soon as they enter the mouth, simple carbohydrates begin to absorb into the blood. This is because the simplest carbohydrates such as juice, white bread, mashed potatoes etc. don’t require much chewing and the enzymes in the saliva are enough to cause instant absorption. Think of how, you can drink a little glass of juice and almost immediately feel the energy it provides.
Even before any food hits our mouth our body begins creating saliva, which contains enzymes that aide in the digestion of complex carbohydrates. This way, when we begin chewing, the combination of chewing and the saliva in our mouth make it easy for us to break down the food and send it through the esophagus.
Complex carbohydrates get their surface area increased through chewing. If these carbohydrates aren’t chewed properly the digestive process will not be able to break them down and the nutrients are lost. If you’ve ever seen a red pepper or a leaf in your poo, remember, it’s all in the chew.
Proteins and fats get chewed up but the enzyme in saliva doesn’t impact it. Chew is only important so as to get food small enough to avoid choking.
All of these items are masticated into a wad of food called a bolus.
The bolus is swallowed and through peristalsis and with gravity it is moved down to the lower esophageal sphincter (yes, I said sphincter), which opens up and drops the Bolus into the stomach.
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