‘Hayward’ kiwifruit anecdotally are associated with improved gastrointestinal comfort following the consumption of high protein meals, possibly because of the presence of a protease enzyme, actinidin. The study aimed to use SmartPill™ technology to investigate the acute effect of kiwifruit with actinidin (Actinidia chinensis
‘Hayward’) and kiwifruit without actinidin (A. chinensis
‘Hort16A’) on digestion of a large protein meal. Ten healthy male subjects were recruited. The participants attended the clinic three times, having fasted overnight. They consumed a test meal consisting of 400 g lean steak and two ‘Hort16A’ or two ‘Hayward kiwifruit’. Subjects completed visual analogue scales (VAS) by rating feelings of hunger, satisfaction, fullness, and comfort and swallowed a SmartPill™ before completing further VAS scales. After 5 h, participants consumed an ad libitum lunch to assess satiety. SmartPill™ transponders were worn for five days. There were no significant differences in gastric emptying time, small bowel, or colonic transit time between the two kiwifruit arms of the study measured by SmartPill™. Similarly, no significant differences were observed in VAS satiety measures or energy consumption at the ad libitum meal. However, the measurement of overall gastric comfort tended to be lower, and bloating was significantly reduced following the consumption of the steak meal with ‘Hayward’ kiwifruit (p
< 0.028). Conclusions: The SmartPill™ is marketed as a diagnostic tool for patients presenting with gastrointestinal disorders and is usually used with a standard ‘SmartBar’. This small pilot study suggests that it is less likely to measure gastric emptying effectively following a high protein meal, as it may be delayed because of the meal’s physical consistency. However, green kiwifruit, containing actinidin, may reduce bloating and other measures of gastric discomfort in healthy males. Possible future studies could use repeated measures with more readily digested protein and larger numbers of participants.
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