Small intestinal transit times of food

A combination of scintigraphic, x-ray contrast and hydrogen breath techniques to follow the transit of a meal of sausages, baked beans and mashed potato showed that the residues left the small intestine between 2 and 12 hours after ingestion. This suggests that differential transit of meal components occurs17 18. There is however some controversy in the literature on this point, since another study failed to find a difference in the small intestinal transit time of the components of a mixed meal of cheese, biscuits, bran and water containing separately radiolabelled liquid and fibre19. In this experiment, differences in mouth-to-caecum time of the two labelled components were entirely explained by differences in rates of gastric emptying. A mean small intestinal transit time for a liquid test meal has been reported to be approximately 1.25 h20. Further intake of food appears to have little effect on the transit of material already in the small intestine21.

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