Background/objectives: Intake of food or fluid distends the stomach and triggers mechanoreceptors and vagal afferents. Wall stretch and tension produces a feeling of fullness. Duodenal infusion studies assessing gastric sensitivity by barostat have shown that the products of fat digestion have a greater effect on the sensation of fullness and also dyspeptic symptoms than carbohydrates. We tested here the hypothesis that fat and carbohydrate have different effects on gastric sensation under physiological conditions using non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure gastric volumes.
Subjects/methods: Thirteen healthy subjects received a rice pudding test meal with added fat or added carbohydrate on two separate occasions and underwent serial postprandial MRI scans for 4.5 h. Fullness was assessed on a 100-mm visual analogue scale.
Results: Gastric half emptying time was significantly slower for the high-carbohydrate meal than for the high-fat meal, P=0.0327. Fullness significantly correlated with gastric volumes for both meals; however, the change from baseline in fullness scores was higher for the high-fat meal for any given change in stomach volume (P=0.0147), despite the lower energy content and faster gastric emptying of the high-fat meal.
Conclusions: Total gastric volume correlates positively and linearly with postprandial fullness and ingestion of a high-fat meal increases this sensation compared with high-carbohydrate meal. These findings can be of clinical interest in patients presenting with postprandial dyspepsia whereby manipulating gastric sensitivity by dietary intervention may help to control digestive sensations.