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J Nutr. 2000 Sep;130(9):2207-14.

An examination of the possibility of lowering the glycemic index of oat and barley flakes by minimal processing.

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  • 1Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Chemical Centre, University of Lund, S-221 00 Lund, Sweden.


Differences in glycemic responses to various starchy foods are related to differences in the rate of starch digestion and absorption. In this study, the importance of the degree of gelatinization and the product thickness for postprandial glycemic and insulinemic responses to rolled oats and barley were studied in healthy subjects (5 men and 5 women). Thick (1.0 mm) rolled oats were made from raw or preheated (roasted or steamed) kernels. In addition, thin (0.5 mm) rolled oats were made from roasted or roasted and steamed (processed under conditions simulating commercial production) oat kernels. Finally, steamed rolled barley kernels (0.5 or 1.0 mm) were prepared. All thin flakes elicited high glucose and insulin responses [glycemic index (GI), 88-118; insulinemic index (II), 84-102], not significantly different from white wheat bread (P: > 0.05). In contrast, all varieties of thick oat flakes gave significantly lower metabolic responses (GI, 70-78; II, 58-77) than the reference bread (P: < 0.05). Thick barley flakes, however, gave high glucose and insulin responses (GI, 94; II, 84), probably because the botanical structure underwent more destruction than the corresponding oat flakes. We conclude that minimal processing of oat and barley flakes had a relatively minor effect on GI features compared with the more extensive commercial processing. One exception was thick oat flakes, which in contrast to the corresponding barley flakes, had a low GI.

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