Have you ever wondered how long it takes for your body to digest a flour tortilla?
Maybe you’re curious about the nutritional differences between corn and flour tortillas, or which one is the healthier option.
Whether you’re a fan of tacos, burritos, or quesadillas, tortillas are a staple in Mexican cuisine and a popular choice for many people around the world.
But how much do you really know about this versatile flatbread?
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind tortilla digestion and compare the nutritional benefits of corn and flour tortillas.
So grab a seat and get ready to learn more about this beloved food!
How Long Does It Take To Digest A Flour Tortilla?
When it comes to digestion, flour tortillas are similar to other types of bread. It takes about three hours for your body to fully digest a flour tortilla, from the time you eat it to the time it passes through your small and large intestines.
During this process, the carbohydrates in the flour tortilla are broken down into glucose, which is used by your body for energy. Any excess glucose that your body doesn’t need right away is stored in your liver and muscles for later use.
However, not all flour tortillas are created equal. Some types of flour tortillas may be easier to digest than others. For example, whole wheat flour tortillas are a healthier option because they contain more fiber than white flour tortillas. Fiber is important for digestive health because it adds bulk to your stool and helps keep you regular.
If you have a sensitive digestive system, you may want to avoid flour tortillas that contain high amounts of fat or sodium. These ingredients can slow down digestion and cause discomfort or bloating.
The Digestive Process: What Happens When You Eat A Flour Tortilla?
When you eat a flour tortilla, the digestive process begins in your mouth. As you chew, your salivary glands produce saliva, which moistens the tortilla and starts to break down the starches in the flour.
Once you swallow the tortilla, it travels down your esophagus and into your stomach. In the stomach, digestive juices and acids break down the tortilla even further. The muscles of your stomach mix the tortilla with these digestive juices to form a thick liquid called chyme.
Next, the chyme moves from your stomach into your small intestine. Here, enzymes from your pancreas and bile from your liver help break down the complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in the tortilla into smaller molecules that can be absorbed by your body.
The nutrients from the flour tortilla are absorbed through the walls of your small intestine and into your bloodstream. Any excess nutrients are stored in your liver or muscles for later use.
Finally, any waste products from digesting the tortilla move into your large intestine, where water is absorbed and stool is formed. The stool then passes out of your body through your rectum and anus.
Nutritional Differences Between Corn And Flour Tortillas
When it comes to choosing between corn and flour tortillas, the nutritional differences are significant. Corn tortillas are generally considered to be the healthier option, as they are lower in fat and calories than flour tortillas. For example, a 100-gram serving of corn tortilla contains only 159 calories, while the same amount of flour tortilla contains 304 calories.
In terms of macronutrients, corn tortillas are higher in fiber and lower in carbohydrates than flour tortillas. A 100-gram serving of corn tortilla contains 4.5 grams of fiber and 43.18 grams of carbohydrates, while the same amount of flour tortilla contains only 1.8 grams of fiber and 48.21 grams of carbohydrates.
Corn tortillas also have a higher vitamin content than flour tortillas, due in part to the traditional nixtamalization process used to make them. A 100-gram serving of corn tortilla contains 227 International Units of Vitamin A and 2.7 milligrams of Vitamin C, while the same amount of flour tortilla contains no Vitamin A and no Vitamin C.
While flour tortillas do contain more iron than corn tortillas, this is not enough to outweigh the other nutritional benefits of corn tortillas. Additionally, whole wheat flour tortillas are a healthier option than white flour tortillas, as they are made from a whole grain and contain more fiber.
Health Benefits Of Corn Tortillas
Corn tortillas have several health benefits that make them a great alternative to flour tortillas. For starters, they are made from whole grains, which means they are high in fiber. Fiber is essential for digestive health as it helps keep you regular and can prevent constipation. In fact, one 12-inch corn tortilla can provide up to 2.7 grams of fiber.
Corn tortillas are also lower in calories and fat than flour tortillas, making them a healthier option for those watching their weight. Additionally, corn tortillas are gluten-free, which is great news for anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Another benefit of corn tortillas is that they contain important nutrients such as calcium and iron. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, while iron is important for healthy blood cells and oxygen transport throughout the body.
When it comes to taste, some people prefer the slightly nutty flavor of corn tortillas over the bland taste of flour tortillas. Corn tortillas also tend to hold up better when filled with ingredients, making them a great choice for tacos or enchiladas.
Health Benefits Of Flour Tortillas
While corn tortillas are often touted as the healthier option, flour tortillas do offer some health benefits of their own. For starters, they are a good source of carbohydrates, which are essential for providing energy to your body. Flour tortillas also contain small amounts of protein and healthy fats, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Additionally, flour tortillas can be a good source of calcium and iron, two important nutrients that many people don’t get enough of in their diets. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, while iron is needed to produce hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your blood.
However, it’s important to note that not all flour tortillas are created equal when it comes to nutritional value. Many store-bought flour tortillas are made with refined flour, which has been stripped of many of its nutrients. To get the most health benefits from your flour tortillas, look for those made with whole wheat flour or other whole grains. These options will provide more fiber and a wider range of vitamins and minerals than their refined counterparts.
Choosing The Right Tortilla For Your Diet
When it comes to choosing the right tortilla for your diet, there are a few things to consider. First, it’s important to note that corn and flour tortillas have fairly similar nutritional profiles, so one isn’t necessarily always a healthier choice over the other. However, there are some differences to keep in mind.
If you’re looking for a tortilla with fewer carbs, corn tortillas are the way to go. They contain slightly fewer carbs than flour tortillas, but the difference is very small. Additionally, corn tortillas contain more fiber than flour ones, which is important for digestive health.
However, if you’re really focused on getting more fiber, whole wheat tortillas are the best option. They contain significantly more fiber than both corn and flour tortillas. Plus, they are a healthier option overall as they are less refined and contain more nutrients.
It’s also important to pay attention to the ingredients in your tortillas. Flour tortillas are often highly processed and may contain additives to preserve the food for longer, as well as bleaching agents. Some whole wheat tortillas may also contain high amounts of sodium, so be sure to read the nutritional label and ingredients list.
Ultimately, the type of tortilla you choose is less consequential than the amount of tortilla you eat and the healthfulness of what you put inside it. So, for occasional taco eaters, choose whichever type of tortilla you prefer. But if you’re eating tacos several times a week, opt for whole wheat tortillas for a healthier option.