British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Changes in intragastric meal distribution are better predictors of gastric emptying rate in conscious pigs than are meal viscosity or dietary fibre concentration

S. Guerina1, Y. Ramoneta1, J. LeCloareca2, M. C. Meunier-Salaüna1, P. Bourgueta2 and C. H. Malberta1 c1

a1 Station de Recherches Porcines, INRA, Saint-Gilles, France

a2 Laboratoire de Médecine Nucléaire, Centre Eugène Marquis, Rennes, France


The effect of dietary fibre on the gastric emptying rate of solids is controversial. Similarly, the mechanisms by which it modulates food intake are partially unknown. Gastric emptying and proximal v. distal stomach filling were evaluated in triplicate on four conscious pigs using scintigraphic imaging. Each animal received in an isoenergetic manner a concentrate low-fibre diet enriched in starch (S) and two high-fibre diets based on sugar beet pulp (BP) or wheat bran (WB). All meals had the same viscosity before ingestion (100.0–100.5 Pa.s). Viscosity of the gastric contents was measured in four additional animals fitted with a gastric cannula. The gastric emptying rate of BP diet was significantly slower than S and WB diets (t1/2 78.4 (SEM 5.68), 62.8 (sem 10.01) and 111.6 (sem 10.82) min for S, WB and BP diets respectively, P<0.05). For BP diet only, rate of distal stomach filling was steady during the first 120 min after the meal whereas that of S and WB diets decreased in an exponential manner. Numerous backflow episodes from the distal into the proximal stomach were observed for BP diet that generated the larger intragastric viscosity (0.26 (sem 0.03), 0.3 (sem 0.02) and 0.52 (sem 0.002) Pa.s for S, WB and BP respectively). In conclusion, viscosity of the meal or the percentage total fibre, unlike viscosity of the gastric contents, are poor predictors for emptying. The reduced emptying rate observed with BP is associated with major changes in intragastric distribution of the meal absent with WB and S diets.

(Received November 17 2000)

(Revised August 04 2000)

(Accepted September 25 2000)