How Long Does It Take to Digest Liquids?

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On average, food takes six to eight hours to pass through the stomach and small intestines. Liquids are not digested separately from foods, and they follow the same digestion process. In liquid-only diets, the digestion process may take fewer hours, as the stomach doesn’t have to mechanically break down food.

After they are swallowed, liquids are pushed down the esophagus directly to the stomach, where they mix with foods and digestive juice. Liquids are absorbed mostly in the colon, but some are absorbed in the small intestines. The colon absorbs around 1.5 quarts of fluids each day and may absorb over a gallon if necessary.