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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Is it Bad to Have Undigested Food In Your Poop?

If food appears in the feces looking very similar to how you it was when you ate it, this means that the food has not been digested (broken down and absorbed) by the body. Believe it or not, many foods that we eat cannot be digested by the enzymes in our digestive system. An enzyme is a type of protein that helps produce chemical reactions in the body.

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Foods that cannot be digested by the human body usually contain a high amount of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is a term for chemical substances in the cells of plants that cannot be digested by the human body. Dietary fiber cannot be digested by the human body because it lacks the necessary enzymes to do so. More specifically, dietary fiber is resistant to hydrolysis. Hydrolysis is a process in which a substance is broken down by splitting its chemical bond and adding water to it. Since dietary fiber cannot be digested, it passes through the body virtually unchanged and cannot be used as an energy source. Although humans cannot digest dietary fiber, some of it is broken down by bacteria to produce gas and acids.

Examples of foods that are not digested well by the human body include corn, peanuts, peas, carrots, cereals, and beans. If the bacteria in the body are successful, some of the carbohydrates in these foods may be broken down. If not, however, we will see these foods in the feces. Carbohydrates are a group of substances present in certain types of foods (such as sugar) that provides the body with energy.

Research also suggests that the more a food is cooked, the more difficult it is for the body to digest it. This is generally true of most foods. The higher the temperature that the food is cooked, the longer it will stay in the digestive system, and the more difficult it will be for the body to digest. Why does this happen? To begin with, all foods are made up of chemicals that are arranged in certain patterns. Our digestive system is generally able to break down foods that fit these general patterns. However, the chemical patterns of all foods can be changed when they are heated past a certain point. Thus, foods that are deep-fried and barbecued often have their chemical pattern changed. As a result, the body does not understand how to deal with these new chemical patterns and the food can pass out of the body undigested because the body does not have the necessary enzymes to digest it properly.
   
If the above reasons are not causing food to be undigested, this could indicate a problem in the digestive system. In a healthy person, it should take between 24 and 36 hours to digest food. If the food comes out of the body faster than this, this usually means that there is a build up of debris (the remains of something broken down) that is preventing the colon from digesting food.

The colon is the major part of the large intestine, that absorbs water and some types of salts from the digested material that passes through it. The intestine is a tube shaped structure that is part of the digestive tract, and is located in the belly. The large intestine absorbs moisture from the matter that is left after it is digested in the small intestine, and releases the waste from the anus (the area that feces comes out of). The small intestine is a part of the intestine that takes in all of the nutrients (healthy substances) that the body needs.

A healthy piece of feces is about one foot long. Shorter sized feces suggest that the colon is not able to process the food correctly and that the feces produced does not have the correct amount of moisture in it.

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