How many hours does it take to digest food?

Learn how long it can take for your body to digest food you eat and how this may affect your weight loss efforts.

The amount of hours it takes to digest food depends on what you eat and when you eat it.

Generally, a meal takes about 3 - 4 hours to leave your stomach and then another 2 - 3 hours to pass through your small intestines. By the time the food is out of your small intestines, you can consider the digestion finalized.

Depending on what you eat, it may take your body longer or shorter to digest food. For example, if you at lots of fats to your food, it would take your body longer to digest the food than if you ate carbohydrates.

Have you ever gone to McDonald's, Pizza Hut, or KFC, and have felt full for 6 hours or more? Well, that's because of all of the fat in the food. It's not that fat is bad for you (there are good fats you can and should eat), but it just because it fats are more calorie-dense than either carbohydrates or protein, and because a more complex process is involved for your stomach to break down the fat to get the nutrients out of them.

Another thing that effects how many hours it takes to digest food is the time you eat the food. If you eat food earlier in the day rather than late at night, your body is more active and thus has the ability to more quickly digest the food.

If however you eat late at night, your body is at a slowing down stage then, so will unlikely be able to digest the food before you go to bed. Some food will remain in your stomach and the digestion process will stop or slow down during your sleep, so that when you get up in the morning, you might still belch the food you ate the night before, because there are still remnants of it in your stomach.

Once you wake up though, the digestion process is sped up again, so the food should be processed quite quickly and be out of the digestive tract.

So, if you are looking to lose weight, it is advisable to eat small and light meals earlier during the day, rather than large and heavy meals later at night. In addition, knowing how to combine foods will allow you to manipulate the amount of hours for digestion of food. Combine the good fats with carbohydrates and protein, and you should be off to a good weight loss journey.

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