Betty is a Registered Dietitian who earned her B.S. degree in Food and Nutrition from Marymount College of Fordham University and her M.S. degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She is the Co-Director and Director of nutrition for the New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program.
Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
When it comes to digesting food, the human body is like a well oiled machine.
Through a complex process food is broken up, the necessary nutrients are
absorbed, and the waste products are excreted. A disruption in any part of this
process can lead to deficiencies, diseases, or even death.
From the moment that food enters the mouth digestion begins. Food is broken
up in the mouth, and moistened with saliva that also contains digestive enzymes.
The food will go through the esophagus to the stomach where it is stored and
mixed. It then passes into the small intestine where majority of the nutrient
absorption takes place. The small intestine is a long, narrow tube that extends
from the stomach to the large intestines. The liver, gallbladder, and pancreas
all aid in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. After the nutrients have
been absorbed, the remaining un-absorbed food passes through to the large
intestine, also known as the colon. The primary function of the large intestine
is to store waste products.
Disorders and diseases can occur throughout the digestive tract. Some of the
common digestive diseases are:
Viewer Question: Do you know if oat bran contains gluten? And is it OK to eat if I have celiac sprue?
Dietician's Response: A Gluten is the protein fraction of wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten
contains several different types of protein, each with a different
arrangement of amino acids. (Proteins are chains of amino acids
hooked together.) It is believed that several of these proteins are
responsible for the inflammation that causes celiac disease (also known as sprue or