New American Chemical Society video on the chemistry behind digestion: The body’s incredible “disassembly line”

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2012 — Go ahead. Call digestion a disassembly line. The body takes that carrot, burger, tofu — whatever morsel of food makes a journey once whimsically described as “through the lips, past the gums, lookout stomach, here it comes!” Digestion breaks the food down, extracts nutrients, and discards the waste. This amazing example of chemistry in action is the focus of a new episode of the ChemMatters video series, available at

The video is based on an article in the latest issue of ChemMatters, ACS’ quarterly magazine for high school students, and was produced by the team behind ACS’ award-winning Bytesize Science videos.

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This episode explains that our body relies on three major types of food: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The video highlights how the body breaks down these big three food groups and puts their nutrients to use. Even though all the chemical reactions involved in digestion are different, they are variations of the same type of reaction — hydrolysis.

ChemMatters has been connecting chemistry to our everyday lives for the past 28 years. Published quarterly by the ACS Office of High School Chemistry, each issue contains articles about the chemistry of everyday life and is of interest to high school students and their teachers. To request a free copy of ChemMatters, go to

For additional entertaining video podcasts from ACS, go to The Bytesize Science series is produced by the ACS Office of Public Affairs.

For more entertaining, informative science videos and podcasts from the ACS Office of Public Affairs, view Prized Science, Spellbound, Science Elements and Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions.

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A new ACS video explains the chemistry behind