Digestion - How the Stomach Digests Food

If you took your digestive track and laid it out on the kitchen table, almost all of it would look like a simple, narrow tube. The only exception is your stomach, which would look like a big pouch. Your stomach is located just below your gullet (esophagus).

Just like the digestive tube, your stomach is circled with strong muscles that perform rhythmic contractions called peristalsis. Peristalsis moves food around your stomach and basically turns your stomach into a sort of food processor when then breaks food into smaller particles. While this is occurring, there are glands in the stomach wall that secret stomach juices. These juices are a blend of enzymes, mucus and hydrochloric acid.

The stomach enzyme that digests small amounts of alcohol is called gastric alcohol dehydrogenase. Alcohol is an unusual nutrient because it can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream before it has been digested.

This is why one serving of alcohol is usually 90% absorbed in your body, in one hour.

More enzymes and stomach juices will begin to digest protein and fat by separating them into basic components, fatty acids and amino acids. For the most part, the digestion of carbohydrates is not done in the stomach. The stomach juices are so acidic that they deactivate amylases, which is the enzymes that break down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. On the other hand, stomach acid can break some carbohydrates, so a bit of carb digestion does take place.

Eventually, your churning stomach will blend its contents into a thick, soupy mess called chyme. When a small amount of chyme spills from the stomach into the small intestine, the digestion of carbohydrates resumes.

Your body then begins to extract nutrients from the food.

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