How long does Food stay in the Stomach? : What Happens during the Process of Digestion
There are many questions related to how long does food stay in the stomach, and this is the first one of it
Digestion is a process in which the large food molecules are broken down into smaller substances so that they can be absorbed by the body and the blood. Some of the substances are not useful for our body, so they are excreted out in different ways. These elements are called waste products.
Parts of Digestive System
There are five major components of the human digestive system:
- Small intestine
- Large Intestine
What Happens during Digestion?
When you chew the food, the salivary glands present in the mouth secrete saliva. Saliva contains the enzyme amylase also called ptyalin. This enzyme helps to break down the starch molecules and form a mushy mass called bolus which is easier to swallow.
When you eat, the food bolus moves down the esophagus(a pipe that connects mouth to the stomach). Esophagus contains circular muscles which help to move the food bolus down the track. In the lower section of the esophagus, a gate called pharynx is present which opens to move the food into the stomach.
There are different acids found in the stomach like HCl. These acids help to break down the food further. This results in the production of a mushy mixture of partially digested food and gastric juices called chyme. This mixture further moves on to the small intestine.
In small intestine pancreas and liver also secrete digestive juices. The pancreas secretes pancreatic juice which breaks down carbohydrates, proteins, and fat while liver secretes bile which is involved in dissolving fats. Along with this small intestine contain small microscopic projection called villi. They increase the surface area of the small intestine from approximately 30-600 fold and absorb nutrients in the lumen.
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The remaining nutrients are absorbed by the large intestine while remaining becomes a solid waste called stool.
This stool is stored in the rectum until you have a bowl movement.
How Long Does Food Stay in The Stomach: In How much Time is Food Digested?
This is the second which is related to how long does food stay in the stomach.
Commonly, the food approximately takes 24-72 hours to move through the digestive tract but the exact time depends on the type and amount of the food ingested. The rate of digestion also depends upon the gender, metabolism and digestive issues.
The food at first passes very quickly through the digestive system. In almost six to eight hours the food moves its way through the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
Once the food reaches the large intestine, the semi-digested food can stay there for more than a day until it is fully broken down. A clinical study has stated that the average time spent on the food in the large intestine varies by gender: In men, it takes about 33 hours, and in women, it takes 47 hours.
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The rate of digestion also depends on the type of food eaten. It takes about two days for meat and fish to digest completely. Proteins and fats contain complex molecules which take longer to digest completely.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, so they take less than a day to be completely digested. These also help the digestive track to work efficiently.
The processed, sugary junk foods like candies are digested quickly. The body digests them in a few hours leaving you hungry again.
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How Long Does Food Stay in The Stomach and Other Organs
Stomach and other digestive organs take some time to be emptied completely. Following is time taken by the stomach and other digestive organs:
- 50% of the stomach is emptied after 2.5-3 hours
- The stomach is completely emptied after 4-5 hours
- 50% of the small intestine is drained after 2.5-3 hours
- The food stays in the colon for 30-40 hours
Along with knowing how long does food stay in the stomach, you must know about some digestive problems. Following are some of the issues related to digestive system.
- Constipation: It is the fewer bowel movements than normal. When you go for the bowel movement, the stool is firm but is hard to pass. Bloating and abdominal pain are the symptoms caused by constipation
- Celiac Disease: In this disease, the immune system of the body attacks the intestine. This disease is usually is caused when you eat gluten.
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