Anatomy & Physiology Gastrointestinal #2


Which is the location for the initial digestion of carbohydrates ?


  1. Mouth
    • Rationale:

      The salivary glands in the mouth produce saliva which contains amylase, the substance that begins the process of carbohydrate breakdown for use by the body via absorption.

  2. Stomach
    • Rationale:

      The stomach participates in almost all digestive activities with the exception of ingestion and defecation. Although almost all absorption takes place in the small intestine, the stomach does absorb some nonpolar substances, including both alcohol and aspirin.

  3. Small intestine
    • Rationale:

      The main function of the small intestine is the absorption of minerals and nutrients from ingested food. The small intestine is the part of the intestines where approximately 90% of the absorption and digestion of food occurs; the other 10% of absorption takes place in the large intestine and the stomach.

  4. Large intestine
    • Rationale:

      There are four major functions of the large intestine, including both the recovery of water and electrolytes, formation and storage of feces, and fermentation of some indigestible food matter by bacteria that resides within the human gut.


The formal definition for digestion is the breakdown of food particles into smaller molecules and particles for absorption of nutrients.


Learning Outcomes

Digestion begins in the mouth with salivary amylase released during mastication. The goal of carbohydrate digestion is the ability to break down all complex carbohydrates and disaccharides into monosaccharides for absorption. It is important to note that not all carbohydrates are completely absorbed in the small intestine (e.g., fiber).

Test Taking Tip

Consider what is needed for the digestion of carbohydrates to begin when choosing the correct answer choice for the question.

Video Rationale