1. The effect of extrusion cooking of a high-fibre cereal product on digestibility of starch, fibre components and phytate in the stomach and small intestine was studied by in vivo digestion in ileostomy subjects, as well as its effect on ileostomy losses of fat, nitrogen, sodium and potassium. 2. Seven ileostomy subjects were studied during two periods (each of 4 d) while on a constant low-fibre diet supplemented with 54 g/d of a bran-gluten-starch mixture (period A) or the corresponding extruded product (period B). 3. Extrusion cooking, using mild conditions, did not change the content of starch, dietary fibre components or phytate of the bran product, but the phytase (EC 184.108.40.206) activity was lost. During the period using the extruded bran product, there was a significant increase in recovery of phytate-phosphorus (period A, 44% of intake; period B, 73% of intake). The amount of fibre components, fat, fatty acids, N, Na, K, water and the ash weight of the ileostomy contents did not differ between the two periods. Only 0.6 and 0.7% respectively of ingested starch was recovered in ileostomy contents in periods A and B, while the fibre components were almost completely recovered. 4. Extrusion cooking, using even mild conditions, may lead to a considerable impairment in the digestion of phytate, probably due to a qualitative change in phytate and a loss of phytase activity. Starch, before and after extrusion cooking, is almost completely digested in the stomach and small intestine while fibre components are digested to a very small extent.