The clinical investigator

, Volume 70, Issue 6, pp 487–491 | Cite as

Effect of ethanol and commonly ingested alcoholic beverages on gastric emptying and gastrointestinal transit

  • A. Pfeiffer
  • B. Högl
  • H. Kaess
Original Article


Acute ingestion of pure ethanol has been reported to delay gastric emptying and to enhance the propulsive movements of the intestine. The aim of the present study was to investigate the comparative effect of beer (7.0% v/v), white wine (7.5% v/v), ethanol (7.5% v/v), and water on the gastric emptying of a liquid test meal and on the gastrocaecal transit time of lactulose added to the test meal. Gastric liquid emptying was assessed by means of a nasogastric intubation technique using polyethylene glycol 4000 as the non-absorbable marker. The gastrocaecal transit time was evaluated by a hydrogen breath test. Beer (P<0.001) and white wine (P<0.05) significantly accelerated gastric emptying in comparison with ethanol of the same concentration. The gastrocaecal transit time was significantly shorter when the liquid meal was administered with beer compared with ethanol (P<0.005) and water (P<0.01). The constituents in beer and white wine responsible for our observations remain to be found.

Key words

Beer Wine Water Ethanol Gastric emptying Gastrocaecal transit time 



polyethylene glycol


parts per million


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Pfeiffer
    • 1
  • B. Högl
    • 1
  • H. Kaess
    • 1
  1. 1.II. Medizinische AbteilungStädtisches Krankenhaus München-BogenhausenMünchenGermany

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