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Diabetes Care. 1997 Nov;20(11):1774-80.

The role of viscous soluble fiber in the metabolic control of diabetes. A review with special emphasis on cereals rich in beta-glucan.

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Nestlé Research Centre, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Recent recommendations for the dietary management of diabetes mellitus state that diet needs to be individualized so that there is improved glucose and lipid control in the patient. In a majority of individuals with diabetes, this is best done with a diet that is low in fat and high in carbohydrate, particularly that of cereal origin. However, symptoms of hyper- and hypoglycemia must be averted. Most cereal products, however, tend to have a high glycemic index Cereals such as Prowashonupana barley or fractions of oat bran are particularly high in the soluble fiber beta-glucan, which when taken with a meal increases the viscosity of the meal bolus once it has reached the small intestine, where the absorption of nutrients occurs. This high viscosity delays absorption. A 50% reduction in glycemic peak can be achieved with a concentration of 10% beta-glucan in a cereal food. A significant lowering of plasma LDL cholesterol concentrations can also be anticipated with the daily consumption of > or = 3 g of beta-glucan. Diabetic individuals can benefit from diets that are high in beta-glucan, which, as a component of oats and barley, can be incorporated into breakfast cereals and other products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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