Objective: To compare gastric emptying of a solid and a liquid nutritional rehabilitation food.
Design: Cross-over trial. Eight volunteers took, in random order at least 1 week apart, 2100 kJ of a solid and a liquid nutritional rehabilitation food with added labelled [13C] glycine.
Setting: Research ward for healthy volunteers.
Subjects: Eight healthy volunteers.
Methods: Appearance of 13CO2 was monitored in expired gas every 15 min for 240 min after meal intake and compared between solid and liquid meals. Parameters of gastric emptying were then calculated.
Results: Gastric half-emptying time was slightly longer for solid meal compared to liquid meal (101+/-6.0 vs 88+/-9.8 min, P=0.24). 13CO2 excretion peaked 138+/-5.3 min after the solid meal compared with 119+/-8.6 min with liquid meal (P=0.06). 13CO2 excretion was higher for the liquid food up to 110 min after the meal but then became higher for the solid food. Analysis of variance for repeated measures of 13CO2 excretion showed a significant interaction term between the type of food and time indicating a delayed elimination of 13CO2 for the solid food (P=0.018).
Conclusions: Attempts to replace liquid nutritional rehabilitation foods by a solid food in malnourished patients should take into account a possible slower gastric emptying.
Sponsorship: Supported by a grant from Nutriset (Malaunay, France) and ANVAR (Agence Nationale de la Valorisation de la Recherche, contract no. A9703021P).