Title and Abstract

Title of our project:

"Investigation of the digestion time of various starchy substances."


Patients who are affected by diseases like diarrhea naturally need more energy and calories than people who are healthy since their body is fighting against the disease (Kalman,1987). The body needs to maintain higher energy levels than usual. This is tough as the body needs to fight against the diseases on top of providing energy for a person’s daily activities (Klein,2014). When the body is fighting against the disease, people usually lose their appetite (Klein,2014). This is due to the body focusing more on fighting against the disease than using energy to digest food consumed. This results in people who are sick refusing to eat food. However, if the patient affected by the disease does not consume enough food, there will not be a decrease of energy for the body to use.This will worsen the disease and result in the disease taking a longer time to be cured (Klein,2014). Thus it is essential for people who are suffering from diseases to have a proper diet in order to get the required amount of nutrients and energy. To recover fully, they would need to eat small portions of food more frequently to provide their body with the extra nutrients and energy it needs to stay strong and heal well (Shih,2016).However, on the contrary,  people who are affected by health conditions such as diabetes require food that are digested slowly and releases their glucose at a slower rate in order to prevent sugar highs. The glycaemic index was created for this purpose (Lewin,2015). The index indicates the speed at which digestion occurs, and the amount it raises glucose levels in the blood is measured by a score on the GI scale (Lewin,2015). A large surge in insulin, caused by eating high-GI foods, will start reactions in the body that leave you feeling lethargic, hungry and craving more sugar. Eating low-GI carbohydrate foods causes a steady rise in the level of glucose in the blood, which in turn leads to a small and gentle rise in insulin. Small increases in insulin keep you feeling full and energised for hours after eating and also encourages the body to burn fat.Hence it is important for patients with diabetes to consume food that does not get digested easily and releases the glucose at a steady level.Thus, the person’s choice of food diet is extremely important and it is based on their different health conditions. Although both their requirements are different, their diet should consist mainly of food rich in carbohydrates as they are the easiest type of food to be digested (Klein,2014).Since carbohydrates are the first line of energy the body will use, eating food rich in carbohydrates can provide the body with its main and instant source of energy to function (Klein,2014). Carbohydrate foods contain mainly starch which provides us with the energy we need for our daily activities (NHS Choices,2017). Starches provide our body with essential nutrients that satisfy our body’s needs (John, 2016). Increased amount of intake of starchy food is also recommended for the treatment and prevention of many diseases (Klein,2014). However, not all carbohydrates get digested at the same rate. Some food take longer than others to be digested. This is where our experiment comes in. We tested on the time for 5 different food that is told to be consumed when a person is affected by such health conditons or diseases to be broken down by amylase. White rice, corn flakes, basmati rice, wheat flour and bread flour were the 5 food types. According to our research we found out that white rice has 0.43g of starch per 1g, basmati rice has 0.78g of starch per 1g,wheat flour has 0.6g of starch per 1g,bread flour has 0.6g of starch per 1g. Corn flakes has 0.43g of starch per 1g. Thus our hyoothesis is that the lesser the amount of starch the food item contains the faster it gets digested. We experimented the time taken for it to be broken down by amylase by first pouring in hot water then adding in amylase and testing the presence of starch through iodine test in 1miutes intervals. Our results showed that white rice got digested the fastest then basmati rice then corn flakes then wheat flour followed by bread flour. These reults allows us to conclude the suitable food for different diseases and health conditions. As shown by the reults we are able to conclude that white rice is the most suitable for patients with dirrehea to consume and food items containing bread flour being the most suitable item for patients with diabetes to consume. This is also tally along with the glycemic index. But there were also some reults that did not tally with the glycemic index which is the basmati rice. It was said to be digested the slowest but it got digested the 2nd fastest. It was also said that wheat flour and bread flour would get digested in the same time but both of themgot digested in 1minute difference, wheat flour being the fastest. Although this difference between the wheat and bread flour was not that significant the basmati rice was a big difference from our research. We hope that we would be able to identify what went wrong or why it varies from the our research. We also hope that our reseach is able to ead further studies like why some of the food types varies from the research. Overall, from our experimentation and this research project we are able to conclude that white rice gets broken down te fastest and is the easiest to be digested followed by basmati rice then corn flakes, then wheat flour and bread flour.

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