There is increasing interest in understanding and controlling the digestion of emulsified lipids within the food and pharmaceutical industries. Emulsion-based delivery systems are being developed to encapsulate, protect, and release non-polar lipids, vitamins, nutraceuticals, and drugs. These delivery systems are also being used to control the stability and digestion of lipids within the human gastrointestinal tract so as to create foods that enhance satiety and reduce hunger. In vitro digestion models are therefore needed to test the efficacy of different approaches of controlling lipid digestion under conditions that simulate the human gastrointestinal tract. This article reviews the current status of in vitro digestion models for simulating lipid digestion, with special emphasis on the pH stat method. The pH stat method is particularly useful for the rapid screening of food emulsions and emulsion-based delivery systems with different compositions and structures. Successful candidates can then be tested with more rigorous in vitro digestion models, or using animal or human feeding studies.
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