Digestion is the process of breaking down food into smaller nutrient components which can be easily absorbed in the intestinal tract. The aim of this study was to experimentally investigate the influence of bolus (gastric content) viscosity on digestion and nutrient absorption processes, using an in vitro gastrointestinal model, the TIM-1 system. Two types of simple carbohydrates, namely, glucose and maltodextrin, were used as model foods. The initial bolus viscosity was varied (∼1 mPa·s, ∼15 mPa·s, and ∼100 mPa·s) using different glycerol-water proportions. A fluorescent molecular rotor compound (Fast Green For Coloring Food) was used to monitor viscosity changing patterns of the gastrointestinal content during digestion in the in vitro stomach and small intestinal sections. The digested-nutrient absorption data indicated that the initial bolus viscosity did not significantly affect the glucose absorption process in the small intestine. However, an increase in the initial bolus viscosity from ∼1 mPa·s to ∼15 mPa·s reduced the maltodextrin to glucose conversion by 35%. A further increase in the initial bolus viscosity from ∼15 mPa·s to ∼100 mPa·s did not significantly reduce the maltodextrin to glucose conversion.

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