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Food we eat

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Filed under Digestion   |   Posted Jun 16, 2009   | 

So, what’s the essenceof the process of digestion? Given a healthy diet and good teeth, what does the body do with the food which we eat?

Food enters the body through the mouth. Waste leaves the body in a number of ways. For example, it comes out as liquid from the bladder, called urine. Waste also leaves the body as solid material, through the anus, called faeces.

Many children accidentally swallow small objects such as coins or marbles. These objects come out in the faeces after about 24 hours.

What must there be between the mouth and the anus? What is true of human beings is likely to be true of other animals such as rats. When dead animals are opened up, a long tube is seen passing through the body. It passes from the mouth to the anus. This tube is called the gut, and is found in a very large number of different animals, including man. The food as it goes through a number of inner organs such as: anus, caecum, colon, duodenum, oesophagus (gullet), ileum, mouth, stomach, rectum.

In a living adult person, the total length of the gut, from mouth to anus, is about 10 metres (m). We are normally sitting upright when we eat, so it is easy to imagine that the food passes down the gut helped by the force of gravity.

A person can swallow food, including liquids, when placed upside down. However it is easy to choke when trying to do this. The gut is packed into the body in such a way that, in some parts, the food actually passes upwards over short distances. The process that pushes the food along from the mouth to the anus shown is called peristalsis.


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