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Why You Need to Know the Digestion Times of Your Food


Digestive Time and Losing Your Gut

It’s vital to your health to keep the transit time of your digestion at a natural pace that isn’t slowed by eating the wrong foods or by eating too much. Slowed digestion in the colon can create purification of what is haltingly being digested.  This purification, or sepsis, is poisonous and is released into the bloodstream and nearby vital organs. With this in mind, you need to know that different foods have different transit times through the digestive system. 

It takes up to about 5 hours for pork, for example, to be digested in the stomach before moving into the small intestines and colon for further digestion and absorption.  So the “transit” time through your digestive system for pork is up to 5 hours. You need to be aware of this in order not to eat too soon before your last meal was digested. Most people eat one meal and then the next before the first meal has fully cleared the stomach. This creates a backup and ads to digestive problems and bloat.” Listening” to your body, and when your stomach is nearing full is very important to not overeating.  But it could also help you a great deal if you know ahead the time is takes the digestive transit time of what you’re about to eat. Here is a chart of food approximate transit times:


Fruit and vegetable juices      15 – 20 mins

Salads, fruits, and vegetables  20 – 30 mins


Watermelon   20 mins

Melons     30 mins

Orange, grapefruit     30 mins

Apples, pears, peaches, cherries     40 mins


Salads (lettuce, tomatoes, celery, bell peppers, and other watery vegetables)  30-40 mins

Steamed or cooked leafy vegetable   40 mins

Broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, string beans     45 mins

Carrots, beet, parsnips, turnips      40 min

Starchy Vegetables

Potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, yams    1 hour


Brown rice, oats, millet, buckwheat     1.5  hours

White Rice     2.5 hours

Beans and Lentils

Beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas    1.5 hours

Soybeans2 hours

Nuts and Seeds

Sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.    2 hours

Peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, filberts, cashews      2.5 to 3 hours


Cheese and light cottage cheese/, skimmed milk   1.5 hours

Whole milk, cottage cheese,    2 hours

Cheese (hard)   4 to 5 hours

Meat and Other Animal Products

Egg Yolk    30 mins

Whole Egg    45 mins

Cod, flounder, other white fish   30 mins

Trout, herring, salmon, and other fatty fish    45 mins to 1 hour

Chicken   1.5 to 2 hours

Turkey   2 to 2.5 hours

Beef, lamb, mutton   3 to  4 hours

Pork  4.5 to 5 hours

As you can see, the foods that are non-animal and have high water content–fruits and vegetables and juices, are most quickly digested. Animal products take the longest to digest.  For those of us who enjoy a meal of barbequed pork and the like, you can see that pork takes 4.5-5 to 5 hours, so you have to be mindful of how much of it you eat, and be sure you wait longer than usual after eating pork before eating your next meal.

It is good for your digestive system not to eat too many meals that require longer digestion. If you are going to eat mostly meat for dinner, then have a salad at lunch and vice-versa. Of course, the salad will also provide more vegetable fiber to add to your digestion. If you eat meat at dinner, you need to be aware that your digestive metabolic rate slows after about 6 pm, so you should eat less than you would if it were lunch or breakfast.

And you do, of course, eat a combination of foods at a meal. You generally wouldn’t just eat just meat, for example, but meat, vegetables, carbohydrate and something to drink.

Although there are general rules, such as meat taking longer to digest than vegetables, I don’t think that any two people react exactly the same when digesting food. Some people have more trouble with different meats, carbohydrates, and vegetables. Some people are completely lactose intolerant, some partially, and others seem to tolerate dairy products much better.    

And when you aim to keep your digestion working well, it will take some trial and error to see which combinations of food and what amounts provide you with a satisfying meal and at the same time are better digestible. This can and most likely also change with your age and other factors such as how much exercise you get or if you burn more calories doing other physical activities. Tradesman, such as construction workers, for example, will generally burn more calories than people who work at a computer.

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