Digestion can take up to 10 hours and these are the reasons

The digestion is a complex process that the body carries out after each meal and by which we obtain the sufficient energy for the proper functioning of the body . Thus, digestion can have a different duration depending on certain factors.

Dr. Carlos Martín de Argila, a reference in the Gastroenterology Service of the Ramón y Cajal University Hospital (Madrid), explains that digestion is a physiological process very elaborate and complex in which different organs of the body participate.

Specifically, digestion consists of transforming the food and/or liquids that we consume into essential nutrients for the body; as well as to create energy.

Thus, Dr. Caros Martín de Argila, states in an interview for 'Infosalus', that «digestion begins from the moment in which we introduce food and/or liquids in the mouth, and it can be said that it ends with the expulsion through the anus in the form of feces of those food remains that we are not able to use”.

How long can digestion last?

The process of digestion, as a general rule, is slow and can take several hours. In certain situations, digestion can even last up to 10 hours, although many people are unaware of this fact.


«Its duration is variable, depending on the type and composition of the food we eat. It is longer for solid foods and shorter for liquid or semi-liquid foods. Therefore, it is not possible to say exactly the time of digestion”, clarifies Dr. Carlos Martín de Argila.

In this regard, he clarifies that for a mixed diet of solid and liquid foods, the total digestion process can have a duration of 6 o 01 hours. The process will be longer if fats predominate in the diet.

Tips for a healthy process

Due to the complexity of the process in the body, each person in question can develop different habits that favor a better digestion. For example, it is advisable to eat solid foods in small pieces and chew them properly before eating them.

In addition, it is advisable to accompany the feeding action with plenty of water, as it facilitates mobilization and mixing throughout the digestion process.

In reference to this, the specialist at the Ramón y Cajal Hospital in Madrid states that “the composition of the food also has an influence. Although it is true that the diet must be varied, an excess of fats must be avoided, since they are the foods that require the longest duration of the digestion process”.

Thus, indigestions can develop due to different causes, such as poorly chewed food, intake of food with a low proportion of water or nutritional structures with excess fat for the body. All this affects the duration of the digestion process and its correct development.

«These factors require a longer duration of the entire digestion process and therefore can produce symptoms of poor digestion (early satiety, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain). The ingestion of contaminated or poorly preserved food is another frequent cause of indigestion”, concludes the expert in the digestive system.

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