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Hydrochloric acid

Mineral acid, made in the stomach

Digestive system

The organ system in the body which breaks down large insoluble food molecules into small soluble molecules which can be used by the body

Balanced diet

A diet which contains the correct amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals and fibre to provide your cells with the resources they need.


Breaking down the large insoluble food molecules into small soluble molecules


A list of often difficult or specialised words with their definitions.


Reusable protein molecules which act as biological catalysts, changing the rate of chemical reactions in the body without being affected themselves


The basic unit from which all living organisms are built up, consisting of a cell membrane surrounding cytoplasm and a nucleus.


Yellowy-green alkaline liquid made in the liver. It is stored in the gall bladder and released along the bile duct to the small intestine where it neutralises stomach acid and emulsifies fats.

What does your body do with the food you eat?

Human beings need to eat a balanced diet to stay healthy. The food we eat has to be broken down before it can be used by the cells of the body. This is the job of the digestive system.

The digestive system is made up of many different organs working together. It takes in food, breaks it down both physically and chemically, moves the digested food into the blood stream and removes the undigested waste.


People must eat everything their cells are going to need. It is important to take in a range of different types of food molecules, and to take in enough food to supply the needs of the body.

The food we eat is made up of chunks of material containing large, insoluble molecules. Digestion is the process by which we break down these large insoluble molecules into small soluble ones that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and used in our bodies. The organs of the digestive system make chemicals such as enzymes, hydrochloric acid and bile which help us digest the food quickly and efficiently.

The human digestive system

The human digestive system

How to use this site

There are a number of interactive features in this e-source:

  • A glossary of terms: any word with a glossary entry is highlighted like this. Moving the mouse over the highlighted word will show a definition of that word.
  • Quick questions: at the end of most pages or sections there is a question or set of quick questions to test your understanding.
  • Animations: most of the animations can be expanded to full screen size, ideal for showing on an interactive whiteboard. The animations will play all the way through or can be viewed one section at a time.
  • Downloads: Teachers can download individual diagrams, animations and other content from the Download Library area of the website. Terms and Conditions apply.