Most animals do not eat continuously. When they do eat, food is present in the gut, and nutrients are being absorbed, for some period of time after a meal, called the absorptive period. Once the stomach and small intestine are empty, nutrients are no longer being absorbed. During this postabsorptive period, the processes of energy metabolism and biosynthesis must run on internal reserves. Nutrient traffic must be controlled so that reserves accumulate during the absorptive period and are used appropriately during the postabsorptive period.
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