Breaking down food

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  • Created by: Rachel
  • Created on: 01-04-13 21:05
  • The digestive system breaks down large insolube food molecules into smaller, soluble molecules
  • This chemical breakdown of food depends on digestive enzymes
  • Different types of digestive enzyme break down the three main types of food molecules: carbohydrates, proteins and fats

Digesting carbohydrates

  • Food like break and potatoes are full of carbohydrates (substances made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen)
  • The simplest carbohydrates are called sugars and these can be built upinto more complex carbohydrates, such as starch
  • Digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates are known as carbohydrases 
  • Amylase is a carbohydrase that breaks starch down into sugars, which can then be absorbed by the small intestine or broken down into glucose by other carbohydrases
  • An amylase is present in saliva
  • Another amylase is made in the pancreas and released into the small intestine

Digesting proteins

  • Proteases  are enzymes that digest proteins, breaking them down into shorter


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