ORIGINAL PAPERS
Postprandial Walking but not Consumption of Alcoholic Digestifs or Espresso Accelerates Gastric Emptying in Healthy Volunteers

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Andreas Franke, Hermann Harder, Anna K. Orth, Sabine Zitzmann, Manfred V. Singer

Department of Medicine II (Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious Diseases), University Hospital of Heidelberg at Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany

Abstract

Background: Postprandial consumption of alcoholic beverages with high ethanol concentration (so-called digestifs) is a widespread custom to alleviate dyspeptic symptoms after comprehensive meals. Alcoholic beverages preprandially ingested inhibit gastric emptying rate of solid meals. However, the effect of a postprandial intake has never been studied in a controlled manner.

Methods: In 10 healthy male subjects gastric emptying was repeatedly studied by ultrasonography after the intake of a 576 kcal meal. Immediately after the meal subjects received in a randomized order 40 ml of the following liquids: brandy, herb flavored liqueur, Williams pear brandy, aquavit (each 40 % (v/v) ethanol concentration), espresso, water, 40% (v/v) ethanol and 70% (w/v) glucose. Postprandial satiety, fullness and bloating were determined on a visual analogue scale every 10 minutes. On another occasion subjects received 40 ml of water and walked afterwards slowly (4 km/h) on a treadmill.

Results: Gastric half emptying time (t 1/2) of the meal with water was 1235 min, while with brandy (1199 min), herb flavored liqueur (12310 min), aquavit (1259 min), Williams pear brandy (1266 min) or espresso (1259 min) t(1/2) it was not significantly different. Postprandial walking accelerated t(1/2) significantly (1075 min, p=0.02). Dyspeptic symptoms were unchanged. Blood ethanol concentrations were under the level of detection (< 5 mg/dl).

Conclusions: Postprandial consumption of alcoholic digestifs did not affect gastric emptying rate of a solid meal nor postprandial dyspeptic complaints. However, postprandial walking accelerated gastric emptying of the meal but this had no effect on dyspeptic symptoms.

Key words
Gastric emptying - ultrasound - alcohol - coffee - walking