Once you have swallowed the potato, it goes into your stomach.
This starch going into the stomach is a “threat to survival” and must be digested. So, the digestive intelligence process proceeds without thought to deal with starch in the stomach. The ptyalin has started the process. If that is the only food in the stomach at this time and it is a predominant starch nutrient, the pH of the stomach (which is usually always acid) now does not become acid. It will be neutral to slightly alkaline since that is the pH that ptyalin needs to digest starch. In other words, the pH of the stomach is going to stay above 6.5 while the starch digests.
As soon as acid comes into the stomach, all starch digestion stops. Therefore, putting acid in a starch would not be intelligent for your body. This is a bit of a hint as to why proper food combining is so important to good digestion. So, for maybe as long as two hours, the pH of the stomach will stay conducive to starch digestion. This means that ptyalin breaks off glucose molecules one at a time from the long glucose chain and utilizes it, thus maintaining an environment conducive to maximum starch digestion and allowing the pH to stay up.
So, let’s say that we ate nothing but that potato, and the starch is all digested (2 hours after) and broken down, some into maltodextrin shorter chains and some into glucose. At that moment, the starch is not a threat to survival, and what’s left is the 1-2% protein in the potato, which cannot be digested in an alkaline environment. The infinite intelligence of the body acknowledges the protein and immediately sends acid to the stomach. Acid and pepsin are all sent to digest the protein.
After this protein is digested, it can then move to the small intestine or the duodenum. Remember that as it comes out of the stomach, it is very acidic. And, now everything is headed on to the Small Intestine!
Watch for Anatomy of Digestion Part 3 – the Small Intestine next week!
Mark Your Calendars! The Morter HealthSystem office will be closed November 22nd through the 26th for Thanksgiving and December 22nd through January 1st for the Christmas and New Year holidays.