Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 7, 2011
Previous Article Next Article

Impact of gastric structuring on the lipolysis of emulsified lipids

Author affiliations


Understanding and manipulating how emulsion structure impacts on fat digestion is an important step towards understanding the role of fat in our diet. This article reports on the nature of emulsion structuring within the digestive tract and how it affects the dynamics of fat digestion. Emulsions were designed a priori to have specific structuring behaviours (stable, coalesced, partially coalesced and fully broken) under gastrointestinal conditions, through careful emulsifier selection and control of solid fat composition. The impact these structures had on lipolysis was then assessed in vitro using a digestion model and in vivo by measuring the postprandial change in blood triglyceride concentration as a marker of fat absorption. The major factor controlling the rate of fat digestion in vitro was the droplet surface area available for lipase adsorption, which was governed by emulsion instability. The rate of fat absorption in vivo was only affected by large changes in the droplet surface area, and only if these changes remained until the droplets reached the small intestine. This was most evident in emulsions that had undergone extensive partial coalescence under gastric conditions. Partial coalescence resulted in a dramatic reduction in triglyceride absorption, in part because the network of fat crystals provided the agglomerates with an internal scaffold to resist re-dispersion as they passed through the pylorus. The differences in fat absorption profile achieved by controlling emulsion structural stability during digestion provide a basis for examining the physiological effects of food structure on lipid metabolism, which will be the subject of a follow-up clinical paper.

Graphical abstract: Impact of gastric structuring on the lipolysis of emulsified lipids

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information

29 Oct 2010
11 Jan 2011
First published
18 Feb 2011

Soft Matter, 2011,7, 3513-3523
Article type

Impact of gastric structuring on the lipolysis of emulsified lipids

M. Golding, T. J. Wooster, L. Day, M. Xu, L. Lundin, J. Keogh and P. Clifton, Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 3513
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01227K

Social activity

Search articles by author