How the Body uses Food

How the Body uses Food

A healthy diet is more than just "food". It provides fuel (energy) as well as the building blocks for life, such as fat, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Maintaining good nutrition is important for everyone, but it is crucial to people with an acute or chronic illness, or to someone receiving certain medical treatments, recovering from surgery or has had unwanted weight loss.

3 Components of Food

  3. FAT

Let's "Break It Down"


Digestion is the process where food moves through the body and gets broken down into smaller pieces. Absorption is when these small molecules of food particles pass from your digestive system into your bloodstream so your body can benefit from them. The body uses these small pieces (nutrients) for energy and repair.

Protein helps build and maintain tissues in the body. Muscle, organs and the immune system are made up mostly of protein. Some examples of protein-rich foods in a regular diet are meat, chicken, fish, beans, milk and eggs.

Common types of protein sources in tube-feeding formulas.

Whey and casein are the main forms of protein found in milk, while soy protein comes from soybeans.

The protein in many standard tube feeding formulas are made up of long chains of amino acids that are twisted and folded. Our bodies cannot absorb these long chains so we digest them with enzymes from our pancreas. When we digest protein, it gets broken down into smaller chains called peptides. But with a GI disorder, the body may not be able to do this "break down" process efficiently. A peptide-based formula like the Peptamen® Junior family of formulas gives your body that head start it may need.

Whey protein empties quickly from the stomach.

Peptamen® Junior formulas have 100% whey protein.

One main difference between standard tube-feeding formulas and specialty tube­feeding formulas is the type of protein they contain. Standard formulas typically contain intact or whole protein, which may be suitable for most people. However, in certain individuals with impaired GI function with stomachs and intestinal tracts that may not work properly, a specialty formula like Peptamen® Junior formula — made from 100% whey protein that is broken down into small pieces called peptides — can help with absorption and tolerance

Tips, Tools & Resources

Maintaining Personal Health

Tips for keeping your mouth, nose or tube site healthy while tube feeding.

Let's "Break It Down"

Facts about protein and peptides.

Go for the Goals

Use this worksheet to help track your prescribed tube-feeding schedule.

Quick Links

Additional resources on tube feeding, caregiving and more.

Tube-Feeding Troubleshooting

Helpful Information for navigating problems such as clogs.


A variety of taste options for those who consume Peptamen® formula orally.