Digestive discomfort after meals is common in the community, especially during the festive season.
It is uncertain whether this is related to intake of either high-calorie or high-fat foods or, alternatively, intake of specific foods.
Dr Helen Parker and colleagues performed a prospective, cross-sectional study that tested the hypothesis that the risk of reflux or dyspepsia is associated with the fat content of the meal independent of caloric load in a ‘real-life’ setting.
The team served 4 festive meals to delegates attending a conference on 4 consecutive days.
Test meals had the same volume, but varied in calorie and fat content.
|31% of participants reported at least mild symptoms on the Leuven Dyspepsia Questionnaire|
|European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
Study procedures and symptoms were monitored using a mobile application.
The research team also assessed the effect of alcoholic compared with nonalcoholic drinks.
The team's primary outcome was the occurrence of reflux or dyspeptic symptoms.
Fullness was documented by a visual analogue scale.
The research team reported that a total of 70% of delegates aged 22–69 years consented to participate.
At screening, 31% of participants reported at least mild symptoms on the Leuven Dyspepsia Questionnaire.
Specific ingredients did not appear to impact on postprandial symptoms.
The team observed that all high-calorie dinners induced more symptoms than the low-fat, low-calorie Czech dinner.
Self-reported fullness after the high-fat, high-calorie British dinner was higher by 23 per 100 with respect to low-fat, low-calorie Czech and German dinners.
Dr Parker's team concludes, "Study participants tolerated a range of food and drink well."
"Reflux or dyspeptic symptoms were least likely after the low-fat, low-calorie meal."
"Fullness was increased after the high-fat, high-calorie dinner, but not low-fat meals."
"These results will help the public to make evidence-based dietary choices during the carnival season!"