Glucose and insulin responses to whole grain breakfasts varying in soluble fiber, β-glucan

A dose response study in obese women with increased risk for insulin resistance
  • Hyunsook Kim
  • Kim S. Stote
  • Kay M. Behall
  • Karen Spears
  • Bryan Vinyard
  • Joan M. Conway



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.

Aim of the study

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, β-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 β-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 β-glucan content. However, peak and area under the curve of insulin responses were significantly affected by the β-glucan amount in an inverse linear relationship.


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


soluble fiber obesity β-glucan insulin resistance glucose 



We express our gratitude to the staff of the Beltsville Human Study Facility, including the research kitchen staff: Evelyn Lashley, Sue Burns, Diane Shegogue, and Mattie Long and research assistants: Willa Mae Clark, Demetria Fletcher, and Razia Hussain We acknowledge ConAgra (Omaha, NE) for generously supplying the barley. And, especially we wish to thank each volunteer for their participation and commitment to making this study possible.


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hyunsook Kim
    • 1
  • Kim S. Stote
    • 2
  • Kay M. Behall
    • 2
  • Karen Spears
    • 3
  • Bryan Vinyard
    • 4
  • Joan M. Conway
    • 2
  1. 1.Western Regional Research Center, US Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServiceAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Food Components and Health LaboratoryBeltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, US Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServiceBeltsvilleUSA
  3. 3.College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural ResourcesUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA
  4. 4.Biometrical Consulting ServiceUS Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServiceBeltsvilleUSA

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