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Liquid nutrient-rich products (such as Soylent) are consumed without chewing. But if I have to chew to initiate digestion, are those nutrients really "processed"?

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If you had to chew to digest, then beverages like sugary sodas would never be digested or provide calories or nutrients, as you (generally) don't chew when you drink them. No, chewing is not required for digestion or nutrient absorption. Chewing is important when eating solid foods, as the chewing action breaks down and begins to solublize the food, and stimulates the production of saliva, which contains enzymes that begin to break down the food prior to digestion in the stomach and intestines.

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  • $\begingroup$ So digestive fluids are always there, waiting..? $\endgroup$ – Sparkler Jun 2 '16 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, there is always acid and digestive enzymes in your stomach, and more are produced when food enters it. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Jun 2 '16 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ what, other than chewing, triggers more acid to be produced upon food intake? $\endgroup$ – Sparkler Jun 2 '16 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Sparkler the presence of the food itself. You can read all about the process of digestion here - it is directly linked from the other article I linked in my answer. $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Jun 2 '16 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Sparkler Also, saliva production and other digestive enzymes are increased in anticipation of food or from seeing/smelling it. $\endgroup$ – Sudachi Jun 3 '16 at 3:30

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