With 347 million people worldwide
suffering from type-2 diabetes, research on preventive strategies for metabolic
syndrome has picked up speed. It is already known that eating whole grain
products is associated with lower body mass index (BMI), improved insulin
sensitivity, and reduced risk of type-2 diabetes
, because whole
grains have low GI (glycemic index) and high dietary fiber content.
Scientists believe the indigestible carbohydrates, such
as dietary fiber and resistant starch, present in the whole grains and their
products, ferment in the gut facilitating blood sugar regulation. This
fermentation, because of the activity of gut microbes, releases gut hormones
such as GLP-1 known to increase satiety levels and reduce risk of metabolic
Incidentally, the gut hormone
GLP-1 not only produces beneficial blood glucose profile and anti-obesity
benefits, but another advantage is that it is produced endogenously in people
who consume whole grain barley products.
However, earlier research has
shown that whole grain wheat or white wheat also reduces appetite, increases
, and decreases subsequent energy intake but the effects can be seen
only after several weeks and just for a period of 48 hours.
The new study from the Lund
University suggests that these effects were seen much quicker with boiled
and the changes to appetite-regulating hormones after just
Researchers, Prof. Inger
Björck and her team
, selected 19 young adults (6 men and 13 women) in the
age group of 20 to 35 years and with BMI in the range of 18 to 25. Boiled
barley kernels (BK) or white wheat bread (WWB) were provided as late evening
meals to them in random order. During subsequent unrestricted but standardized
breakfast and lunch meals (10.5-16 h), blood was collected for analysis.
Appetite sensations and voluntary energy intake were also determined.
The findings were that barley
facilitate glucose regulation, •
increase the release of GLP-1, •
reduce subsequent energy
decrease hunger over two
'A particularly interesting
observation in the present study is a 34 percent increase in plasma
concentration of GLP-1 in the morning (0-330 min) after the BK evening meal,
compared to the evening meal with WWB', say the researchers. They found that
glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) also increased after BK meal and
free fatty acid (FFA) levels decreased. There was significant reduction in
energy intake during lunch the next day in the BK group as against the WWB
'It can be suggested that the effects on
gastro-intestinal hormones seen in the present study after the boiled barley
kernel evening meal, stem from colonic fermentation of indigestible dietary
fiber in the barley kernel', they said. 'Colonic fermentation of specific
indigestible carbohydrates may provide one possible mechanism by which whole
grain have proven beneficial in prevention of obesity and type-2 diabetes'