As yet there is little agreement among health workers as to whether the practice of between-meal eating is harmful, beneficial, or indifferent in its influence on health. Studies which have been done heretofore on between-meal eating have been concerned with the effects on growth, appetite, daily nutrient intake, regularity, body metabolism, overweight, work efficiency, and dental caries. It appears that the possible physiological effects of between-meal eating have been only partially explored. The problem of this study was the effect of eating between meals on stomach emptying time.

The effect of between-meal eating on the emptying time of the stomach was studied by roentgenogram on nine apparently normal, healthy adult women between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-five years. The experimental method with the control and test approach was used. Each subject served as her own control. Each subject ate a standard test breakfast containing barium on two different days. On one of these days a portion of the breakfast was not eaten with the meal but was eaten as a between-meal snack two and one-half hours after the meal. Gastric emptying time was determined on both occasions by serial roentgenograia observations, and comparisons were made of the emptying times without and with the between-meal snack. Other factors which influence gastric emptying time were controlled as far as possible.

The data revealed a wide divergence in individual stomach emptying times when an identical breakfast was eaten by the subjects. The average emptying time was 6.47 hours without the between-meal snack, and 7.05 hours with the between-meal snack. There was a mean difference in stomach emptying time of approximately thirty-eight minutes, a difference which is statistically significant (p < .02).

Under the circumstances of this study it appears that a light between-meal snack produces some delay in gastric emptying time in most people, but not in all. Although further investigation of this subject is needed, the results of this brief study seem to indicate that the possibility of such an effect on stomach emptying time is a factor which health workers should consider when giving instruction regarding between meal eating. This study also suggests that the stomach emptying time of normal individuals after an ordinary mixed meal is more than three to four and one-half hours as is commonly stated.

LLU Discipline





Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Ruth M. White

Second Advisor

L. Lucile Lewis

Third Advisor

Lester H. Lonergan

Fourth Advisor

J. Earl Thomas

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Gastric Emptying; Food Habits



Page Count

viii; 51

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives