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Do you still absorb nutrients if you don't digest food?

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  • Do you still absorb nutrients if you don't digest food?

    Hey guys, this might be a dumb question
    if you have problems digesting a given type of food
    (in my case carbs), do you still absorb nutrients?
    or it just sits there until, well, you get rid of it?
    My uneducated guess is no, but..
    "In the church, they say to forgive"
    "Forgiveness is between them and God. It's my job to arrange the meeting"

  • #2
    Id also be interested to know this, I seem to be very carb sensitive so any feedback would be great !

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    • #3
      absorb macros or micros? Not an expert, but for certain things that pass without fully digesting (like lactose for most people, or in your case, carbs in general), I would imagine micro-nutrients could still get stripped out of the food and absorbed. Since digestion is food being broke down and absorb through small intestine, then undigested food would not be absorbed through the small intestine, since that IS digestion. I would imagine SOME of it gets fully digested no matter how intolerant you are, but most would pass undigested. So the food passes partially undigested, into the large intestine where it ferments which causes gas and bloating.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SNRose07 View Post
        absorb macros or micros? Not an expert, but for certain things that pass without fully digesting (like lactose for most people, or in your case, carbs in general), I would imagine micro-nutrients could still get stripped out of the food and absorbed. Since digestion is food being broke down and absorb through small intestine, then undigested food would not be absorbed through the small intestine, since that IS digestion. I would imagine SOME of it gets fully digested no matter how intolerant you are, but most would pass undigested. So the food passes partially undigested, into the large intestine where it ferments which causes gas and bloating.
        Thank you,
        that's what I thought. This would also explain why I don't get any energy from carbs.
        Everyone seems to have amazing workouts the day after refeed, for me I'm lucky if I'm not
        weaker
        "In the church, they say to forgive"
        "Forgiveness is between them and God. It's my job to arrange the meeting"

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        • #5
          This also might be a dumb question but, what are some ways you can determine whether or not your body is absorbing macro nutrients?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by gpalacios View Post
            This also might be a dumb question but, what are some ways you can determine whether or not your body is absorbing macro nutrients?
            Short of getting food allergy tests and having examinations of your GI tract, one thing you can do is monitor how your body responds to various foods. Journal your food intake and make notes on your well-being, physical symptoms (positive and negative), energy levels, digestive system (bloated, gas, bowel movements...etc), essentially anything that seems to change after you eat.

            If certain foods are causing reactions within your body they may not be the best sources to get those nutrients...and you'll probably a lot more comfortable eliminating problem foods.

            Once you suspect something is causing an issue, eliminate it for several weeks and note the differences.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by SNRose07 View Post
              absorb macros or micros? Not an expert, but for certain things that pass without fully digesting (like lactose for most people, or in your case, carbs in general), I would imagine micro-nutrients could still get stripped out of the food and absorbed. Since digestion is food being broke down and absorb through small intestine, then undigested food would not be absorbed through the small intestine, since that IS digestion. I would imagine SOME of it gets fully digested no matter how intolerant you are, but most would pass undigested. So the food passes partially undigested, into the large intestine where it ferments which causes gas and bloating.
              Just a clarification here:

              Digestion is the mechanical (chewing and through peristaltic movements) and chemical (via acid hydrolysis and enzymatic degradation) breakdown of food after entering the mouth.

              Absorption is the process of moving material (nutrients, as well as drugs, etc.) in the chyme (what food is called after / during digestion) from the lumen of the GI tract into the blood stream and lacteals, i.e., into the body. (The entire length of the GI tract is technically outside the body.)

              Digestion and absorption are distinguished as two different processes.


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              • #8
                On a similar line, I have crohn's disease which causes me to go to the toilet a LOT more than I'd like too!

                Do you think I will be absorbing a decent amount nutrients from my food/shakes even though it passes through me so quickly, or just the bare minimum? Any one any experience with Crohns?

                I have actually managed to gain weight since initially getting crohns (bar big flare ups where I can loose a stone in a week or so) through lots of hard work and having to loosen my diet up much more than I used too by incorporating more calories and not eating as clean, as I am worried about absorbing said nutrients.

                I used to alway sit around 12-14% bf and cut to around 8% in the summer but now I remain around the 14-16% in fear of a bad flare up when at a lower bf % leaving me ill.

                When I have a good week or so (less visits to the toilet) I gain weight and visually get bigger - so this suggests (answering my own question) I'm not absobing as much as I potentially could be. Just wondering if anyone else have experience really.

                Cheers

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BMAN ENGLAND View Post
                  On a similar line, I have crohn's disease which causes me to go to the toilet a LOT more than I'd like too!

                  Do you think I will be absorbing a decent amount nutrients from my food/shakes even though it passes through me so quickly, or just the bare minimum? Any one any experience with Crohns?

                  I have actually managed to gain weight since initially getting crohns (bar big flare ups where I can loose a stone in a week or so) through lots of hard work and having to loosen my diet up much more than I used too by incorporating more calories and not eating as clean, as I am worried about absorbing said nutrients.

                  I used to alway sit around 12-14% bf and cut to around 8% in the summer but now I remain around the 14-16% in fear of a bad flare up when at a lower bf % leaving me ill.

                  When I have a good week or so (less visits to the toilet) I gain weight and visually get bigger - so this suggests (answering my own question) I'm not absobing as much as I potentially could be. Just wondering if anyone else have experience really.

                  Cheers
                  Ugh - I feel your pain. I had a similar discussion with MoCo a couple weeks ago. I have Crohn's too (although I'm technically in remission) and notice my weight stays relatively the same even though I'm consuming a ton of calories in my offseason (upwards of 3 - 3.5K on some days, sometimes even more).

                  Based on my frequent bathroom visits and how hungry I am all the time, I have to wonder how much my body actually absorbs what I eat. I can lose weight fairly quickly too when I cut. I try to just stick to how I'm feeling/looking in the mirror and avoid the scale now. I also try to stick to the same boring foods that I know I'll feel good on and I bake my own sweets to avoid anything that could cause a flare-up.

                  One thing I noticed too, I do MUCH better with organic/grass fed meats versus the packaged junk I find at the grocery store. We try to only buy from our local butcher.
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                  • #10
                    Thanx for sharing Rco. I will try the organic/grass fed meats as it's not something I have experimented with tbh.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BMAN ENGLAND View Post
                      Thanx for sharing Rco. I will try the organic/grass fed meats as it's not something I have experimented with tbh.
                      Sure! One other thing too with regards to the meats - the leaner the better. I don't do too well the next day with fatty cuts :bye2:
                      2013 NPC Europa Battle of Champions - 1st Figure & Overall
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                      2012 NPC Emerald Cup - 2nd Figure
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