As pectin delays gastric emptying in normal subjects and satiety may be linked to the rate of gastric emptying, we designed this study to evaluate, in a group of obese subjects, the effect of adding pectin to a meal on gastric emptying, sensation of satiety, and postprandial plasma cholecystokinin and pancreatic polypeptide levels. We studied gastric emptying of solids in 9 adult obese subjects on 2 separate days in a randomized fashion. On day 1, 15 g of pectin was added to the meal, and on day 2 15 g of methylcellulose was added and served as control. Satiety was evaluated by an analogue rating scale. Pectin significantly delayed gastric emptying time [t1/2 = 116 +/- 23 min vs. 71 +/- 17 min observed with methylcellulose (p less than 0.001)]. Pectin also significantly increased subjects' sensation of satiety [98 +/- 7 vs. 74 +/- 17 (p less than 0.001)]. Postprandial release of cholecystokinin and pancreatic polypeptide was not modified by pectin. As pectin induces satiety and delays gastric emptying in obese patients, it may be a useful adjuvant in the treatment of disorders of overeating.