Gastric emptying of liquid and solid meals at various temperatures: effect of meal temperature for gastric emptying

J Gastroenterol. 2009;44(5):412-8. doi: 10.1007/s00535-009-0022-1. Epub 2009 Mar 25.


Background: Patients with functional dyspepsia frequently show delayed gastric emptying, and dietary advice is frequently given for its improvement. If meal temperature influences gastric emptying, advice regarding the meal temperature may become a possible component of dietary therapy. However, little information exists concerning the thermal effect of meals on gastric emptying. The aim of this study was to determine the thermal effect of liquid and solid meals on gastric emptying.

Methods: The gastric emptying of liquid and solid test meals was examined in healthy volunteers (liquid, n = 25, mean age = 35.7 +/- 9.6 years, male-to-female ratio = 22:3; solid, n = 25, mean age = 35.2 +/- 8.8 years, male-to-female ratio = 20:5). Gastric emptying after the ingestion of liquid or solid meals at three different temperatures (4, 37, and 60 degrees C) was investigated with the [(13)C]-labeled acetate breath test. The lag phase time (T (max-calc)) and the half-emptying time (T (1/2)) were calculated from the (13)CO(2) breath excretion curve as indices of gastric emptying.

Results: The values of T (max-calc) at 60 degrees C with both the liquid and solid meals were significantly smaller than those at 37 degrees C (P < 0.05). However, there was no difference in the T (1/2) values. In the analysis of the percent excretion of (13)CO(2) in 1 h (% dose/h) data with the liquid meal test in the earlier phase within 30 min, significantly larger values were found at 60 degrees C than at the other temperatures. These findings suggest that a hot meal significantly accelerates gastric emptying.

Conclusions: Meal temperature may be considered as a component of dietary therapy for patients with functional dyspepsia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breath Tests
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Temperature*


  • Carbon Dioxide