The Role of Viscous Soluble Fiber in the Metabolic Control of Diabetes: A review with special emphasis on cereals rich in β-glucan
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 β-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% β-glucan in a cereal food. A significant lowering of plasma LDL cholesterol concentrations can also be anticipated with the daily consumption of ≥3 g of (β-glucan. Diabetic individuals can benefit from diets that are high in (β-glucan, which, as a component of oats and barley, can be incorporated into breakfast cereals and other products.
- Received April 18, 1997.
- Accepted July 21, 1997.
- Copyright © 1997 by the American Diabetes Association