The effects of sustained fiber ingestion on gastric emptying glucose tolerance, hormone responses, and jejunal absorption of glucose and lysine were studied in healthy volunteers. Subjects were placed on a low-fiber (3 g) diet for 2 wk, followed by 4 wk of an isocaloric diet supplemented with 20 g/day of either apple pectin (7 subjects) or alpha-cellulose (6 subjects). At the conclusion of each dietary period subjects ingested a low-fiber breakfast surface-labeled with 99mtechnetium sulfur-colloid. Gastric emptying half-time, plasma glucose, calcium, phosphorus, insulin, glucagon, gastrin, human pancreatic polypeptide, and motilin were determined. Gastric emptying half-time was prolonged approximately twofold after pectin supplementation (p less than 0.005) and returned to normal 3 wk after discontinuing pectin supplementation. Cellulose supplementation did not alter the gastric emptying rate. Plasma glucose, calcium, phosphorus, and hormonal responses to the meal were unchanged after either pectin or cellulose supplementation. Pectin ingestion did not impair intestinal absorption of glucose or lysine. In contrast to sustained cellulose ingestion, sustained pectin ingestion slows the gastric emptying rate; the mechanism underlying this adaptive effect is unknown.