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Eur J Nutr. 2009 Apr;48(3):170-5. doi: 10.1007/s00394-009-0778-3. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Glucose and insulin responses to whole grain breakfasts varying in soluble fiber, beta-glucan: a dose response study in obese women with increased risk for insulin resistance.

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  • 1Western Regional Research Center, US Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 800 Buchanan Street, Albany, CA 94710, USA.



A high intake of whole grains containing soluble fiber has been shown to lower glucose and insulin responses in overweight humans and humans with type 2 diabetes.


We investigated the linearity of this response after consumption of 5 breakfast cereal test meals containing wheat and/or barley to provide varying amounts of soluble fiber, beta-glucan (0, 2.5, 5, 7.5 and 10 g).


Seventeen normoglycemic, obese women at increased risk for insulin resistance consumed 5 test meals within a randomized cross-over design after consuming controlled diets for 2 days. Blood samples for glucose and insulin response were obtained prior to and 30, 60, 120 and 180 min after consuming the test meals.


Consumption of 10 g of beta-glucan significantly reduced peak glucose response at 30 min and delayed the rate of glucose response. Area under the curve for 2 h-postprandial glycemic response was not affected by beta-glucan content. However, peak and area under the curve of insulin responses were significantly affected by the beta-glucan amount in an inverse linear relationship.


These data suggest that acute consumption of 10 g of beta-glucan is able to induce physiologically beneficial effects on postprandial insulin responses in obese women at risk for insulin resistance.

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