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How Food Moves Through Your Body

Outline of man showing gastrointestinal tract.

When you eat, food enters your digestive tract. The digestive tract is a series of organs that form a pathway from your mouth to your anus. As food moves down this pathway, it is processed and changed to waste. After food is changed to waste, it is pushed out of your body in a bowel movement.

  • The stomach breaks down food into a liquid mixture.

  • The small intestine absorbs nutrients from the liquid mixture. What remains is liquid waste.

  • The large intestine (colon) absorbs water from the liquid waste, converting it into solid waste (stool).

  • Nerves throughout your digestive tract tell your muscles how fast to contract.

  • Muscles in the intestines contract to move food and waste through the digestive tract.

  • The rectum stores stool until a bowel movement occurs.

  • The anus is the opening where stool leaves the body.

Online Medical Reviewer: Horowitz, Diane, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Wilkins, Joanna, RD, CD
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2017
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