How long does it take to digest food?

Longer than you might think…

This is something that is important to keep in mind when trying to directly correlate how one is feeling or the flareup of specific symptoms or signs with the consumption of a particular food. In some respects, it is analogous to the incubation period for a foodborne illness. This underscores the importance of wellness tracking, at least during the early stages of attempting to optimize one’s health.

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The normal range for transit time includes the following: gastric emptying (2 to 5 hours), small bowel transit (2 to 6 hours), colonic transit (10 to 59 hours), and whole gut transit (10 to 73 hours).

Your digestion rate is also based on what you’ve eaten. Meat and fish can take as long as 2 days to fully digest. The proteins and fats they contain are complex molecules that take longer for your body to pull apart.

By contrast, fruits and vegetables, which are high in fiber, can move through your system in less than a day. In fact, these high fiber foods help your digestive track run more efficiently in general.