How Long Does It Take For Food To Digest And "Make Way" For The Next Meal?

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  1. quicksand profile image80
    quicksandposted 10 years ago

    How Long Does It Take For Food To Digest And "Make Way" For The Next Meal?

    The question may sound awkward and perhaps funny too. I am concerned about how long you need to wait after a meal to start on the next one. The general impression is that feeling hungry is a good indicator that it is time for your next meal. All the answers available online to the question of how long it takes for food to digest, hover around the 75-hour range. This creates the awareness that we eat a meal before the previous meal has completed the digestion process. If you are an expert in this field I would be much obliged if you care to discuss. Many thanks.

  2. badegg profile image82
    badeggposted 10 years ago

    No expert, but I have done my share of research on it just for my own health's sake.

    From what I have learned, 75 hours is a bit high, but that is dependent on what you are eating. Humans as a whole are not carnivores, but omnivores with a lot of stress on being herbivores. It is becoming more and more aware in the archaelogical community that ancient humans ate very little meat, but high volumes of nuts and grains. Eating a vegetarian diet, from what I have learned, will put your digestive timing at around 28 hours. Our digestive system is very complex, which is necessary to digest the high fibers found in vegetable matter. Meat on the other hand is simply digested, and a carnivore's digestive system is rather short, about 12 hours. If we eat meat, it will sit and putrify in our systems for as much as several days, clogging us up and creating foul odors among our friends.

    I have always gone with the notion "if I feel hungry, eat." But keep tabs on what you have eaten previously. I hope this helps.

    1. Sparkle Chi profile image73
      Sparkle Chiposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Excellent! Very well put.. I love your tactfulness! smile

    2. quicksand profile image80
      quicksandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      It does help indeed! Thanks a lot for the info. I am feeling hungry already!
                              (:------wide grin------smile

    3. trainerlex profile image90
      trainerlexposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Two months ago, I switched from eating a typical American diet based around meat dishes to raw-vegetarian. I have to agree with all you're saying. I dropped from a 48 hour digestive cycle down to 26 hours. I couldn't believe it.

  3. msorensson profile image65
    msorenssonposted 10 years ago

    This is a good summary, from the NIH

    Feeling hungry is as much psychological as it is physiological and is more a function of habit rather than the actual need for food.

    If necessary, it is possible for a healthy individual to survive for two weeks on stored body fat alone and without food as long a he or she has access to drinking water.

    1. quicksand profile image80
      quicksandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for the link. I always respond to hunger generously as I consider it a serious appeal from the system.

      Cheers. smile

    2. msorensson profile image65
      msorenssonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      As I am a biochemist, this topic would require several hours of lecture and I do not want to do it an injustice by giving you and incomplete answer.

    3. Sparkle Chi profile image73
      Sparkle Chiposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I completely agree! I was just writing about it in my new hub to answer this question!

  4. Sparkle Chi profile image73
    Sparkle Chiposted 10 years ago

    How long should we wait between eating meals? Is there a proper amount of time? How long does it it take for our meal to digest? These questions are quite common.   
    Although it may sound silly, the need for answers is quite real. With the health... read more

  5. whizzer profile image60
    whizzerposted 10 years ago

    It all depends on what your last meal consisted of. If it was a meal high in water content and simple sugars, such as an ice-cream or sorbet, it would be absorbed from the stomach very quickly, maybe two or three hours would see it absorbed, as there is little or no residue in that meal and there would be little passing further down the alimentary tract for expulsion. On the other hand, if you ate a meal high in fibre and protein, it would take longer to clear the stomach. This could take 24 hours or so. The higher your metabolic rate, the quicker it will pass through but 75 hours would be a very long time for a meal to pass through.

    1. quicksand profile image80
      quicksandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, they say drinking too much water with a meal messes up the digestive process. Thank you for your very interesting response. smile

  6. edhan profile image40
    edhanposted 10 years ago

    For myself as I am taking small meals at interval of 3 - 4 hours, I do believe that my food digest around 1 hour or so.

    I notice that after every meal, I normally go for my 'poo' after an hour. So, if I am not mistaken, the food should be processed already.

    1. badegg profile image82
      badeggposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I am inclined to think that your "poo" is from a meal eaten a day or so previous.  It does not happen that fast.

  7. BlissfulWriter profile image75
    BlissfulWriterposted 10 years ago

    I am not an expert.  But this is just my opinion.  You do not need to wait for food to be completely digested to start the next meal.  You just need to wait until the food has passed from the stomach to the intestine so that there is room.  Your next meal should be small enough to not fill the stomach completely. 

    Time depends on the type of food eaten and individual variances.   When I eat vegetables, I can eat another meal within 2 hours.  I have a faster metabolism than average.   Carbohydrates and protein take much longer to pass through.

    Hunger is a good clue.   But one should not eat within three hours of bedtime.  If you are sleeping, your body will not be able to process the food well.

    1. quicksand profile image80
      quicksandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Great info, useful indeed. Thanks for posting here. (looks like you ARE an expert on this topic too!)

  8. omo daddy profile image71
    omo daddyposted 10 years ago

    I think it depends on the nature of the food and how active we are. Heavy foods digest more slowly than light foods. When the body is active foods tend to digest faster than when we are at rest. Temperature might be another factor because during winter when the body has to work extra hard to keep the body warm, foods are digested faster than during summer. Health also matters, in that when we are just recovering from an illness the body digests food faster and asks for more to make up for the loss of appetite during the illness.

    1. quicksand profile image80
      quicksandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I like the idea of making up for the loss of appetite. Thanks for writing your thoughts here! smile

  9. nancynurse profile image73
    nancynurseposted 10 years ago

    Every person is different . It depends on what you have eaten and had to drink with your meal. Your metabolism can also be a determining factor as are certain illnesses as chronic diarrhea as in colitis. Stress can effect your digestion. Travel , exercise, etc. Generally it can take from 6  t0 12 hours for food to pass  through your digestive track.

    1. quicksand profile image80
      quicksandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Sure, people say that when your timing is wrong where eating habits are concerned. many maladies could surface. Thanks for reading my question and posting here. smile

  10. Dr. Haddox profile image61
    Dr. Haddoxposted 10 years ago

    The many answers that one receives upon requesting an answer to this question is an indication of how the answer differs depending on the individual's metabolism and other personal factors. Digestion is an ongoing process that does not "stop and go," therefore, requiring a "making of the way" for the next meal. This is the reason why "grazing," a method of eating that allows an organism (a cow, a pig, a chicken, a human, etc.) to eat in an ongoing manner, is such a wonderful way to eat and maintain one's heath. Grazing allows one to eat small amounts of foods throughout the day, in an ongoing manner, if there is time (in the case of humans) for grazing. Thank you for a thought provoking question.
    Dr. Haddox

    1. quicksand profile image80
      quicksandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks Doctor, grazing is a great idea but that way the system does not get much of a rest right? Thanks for your opinion. smile


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