Types of Digestion

Art & Research: Eunice H. Kim

Further Reading Literature: Kadir Özler


What happens when you eat your food?

Nutrient types

There are 4 types of nutrients that can be in your food: Carbs, fats, proteins and nucleic acids. In order for your body to use all these nutrients in your food, the body has to first break it down and then absorb it.

Parts of the body

Let’s look at your body! We have 4 major parts of the body that help break down and absorb food: the mouth, stomach, small intestine and large intestine.

The mouth

MOUTH: Your mouth is the first place your food enters in your body. Your teeth help to physically crush the food into smaller pieces. Your saliva has chemicals that break the carbs in the food down even more.

The tongue

Your tongue then helps form the chewed up food into a bolus, or ball, and helps it go


The stomach

STOMACH: Your stomach contracts in a process called peristalsis to physically break down the ball of food your body just made. Your stomach also has a chemical called hydrochloric acid that breaks down proteins. These 2 processes make your food into a mush called chyme, which then enters the small intestine.

The small intestine

SMALL INTESTINE: The first part of your small intestine is the duodenum. Here, your liver, pancreas, and gallbladder make and send more chemicals to help to break down your food into even SMALLER pieces of fat, protein, carbs and nucleic acids. Once the food passes the duodenum, little bumps in your intestine called villi help to make sure all of the nutrients from your food are absorbed. 

The large intestine

LARGE INTESTINE: Finally! Once your small intestine takes all the nutrients from your food, your large intestine absorbs water and any small minerals or vitamins (LibreTexts Medicine).

The rest

Anything else that hasn’t been absorbed?

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