Digesting the nutrients

I don’t know much about nutrition so I thought I’d ask here.

There’s a guy in my office who says liquid food passes through our digestive system way too quickly for us to absorb all the nutrients, so all the good stuff in Huel is mostly passing straight through. Do any of you nutrition-types know anything about that? Do we digest Huel faster than solid food? And does it matter?

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There is a proper answer to your question, and I’ll let somebody else state it.

On the other hand, the simplest answer you can give your coworker is that - by now - there are thousands of healthy people eating Huel (and similar products) exclusively for a very long time (years in my case), have no problems with it, and have tests from medical doctors to back it up. If there was something wrong with complete foods, we would have found out by now.


I’m not enough of an expert to answer your actual question - I just want to let it be said that these words at the start of a sentence never bode well :stuck_out_tongue:


There’s a guy who knows the answer…and that guy is not me :stuck_out_tongue:

Although anecdotally, if Huel DOES pass through too quickly for all nutrients to be absorbed, I’d be losing more weight than what I have been, since it means I’ll also have been absorbing less calories. Oh, and by that logic, the calories from coke and milkshakes and alcohol would just flow RIGHT OUT!

With a bit of guessing, Huel is high in fiber, which slows down digestion unlike nutritionally void sweet liquids.

Ngl @JamesCollier is probably your guy so don’t take my word for it :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


The transit time of foods is more related to macronutritional profile than it is the solid or liquid nature of the food. However, on average liquid food does pass through the digestive system quicker than solid food … by a few seconds! Yes those seconds it takes you to chew your food.

The tiny bit of digestion that liquid foods may be missing out on is saliva, but the only enzyme in salvia is salivary amylase which breaks down starch. But, the actual action of salivary amylase on solid food is minimal as it only relates to starches - not proteins or fats. Starch is impacted more by this enzyme’s sister: pancreatic amylase which is secreted after the food has been turned into a liquid called chyme in the stomach.

The speed chyme leaves the stomach is the same rate no matter whether the food was solid or liquid when it went in the mouth (it’s more affected by the relative concentration of carbohydrate, electrolye content and temperature of the food - but that’s well off-topic).

Absorption happens (mostly) in the intestines, so you can see nothing is affected.


Thank you James for taking the time to reply (on a Saturday afternoon no less, much appreciated!) I suppose when I heard him talking about it, it sort of made sense in my head that solid foods would sit in the stomach for longer being broken down by stomach acids and stuff? Am I way off? Especially as it sounds like digestion happens after the stomach

Protein digestion occurs in the stomach and the breakdown of solids occurs there. However, since absorption mainly takes place after the stomach, there is little issue.


Yay for science! Let’s see what my colleague thinks of that


So… seemingly the office guy simply claimed whatever without any backing; a registered nutritionist just answered with a nice explanation; and now the office guy will be consulted?

Is he a registered nutritionist too? Or are you going to pass him the deserved [Citation needed]? :smiley:

Reminds me of a colleague in an office I worked in, who claimed that microwave ovens are so pernicious that the American army did a test about preparing food for soldiers and had to stop after a few weeks because soldiers were getting sick. I answered that at that point I had been exclusively microwaving my food for years (I even learnt how to bake cakes) and I wasn’t having any problem. His shock was a poem. Of course he also couldn’t back his cool story.

I’m guessing Office Colleagues somehow aren’t a specially reliable information source…


@JamesCollier Hello James, I want to ask you a question, I would like to know which is the normal time for a complete digestion because sometimes I complete it in 12-13 hours and I thought it had to be a lot more.

Do you know anything about this? Thanks in advance

By that time, a health individual should have digested all the nutrients of a meal. There is no ‘normal’ time, however, as there are so many factors that affect absorption.


me thinks that guy in office is talking porky pies