Public Release:  Rye and barley products facilitate blood glucose and appetite regulation

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Evidence from observational studies indicates that diets rich in whole grain reduce risk of obesity and other diseases related to the metabolic syndrome e.g. type 2 diabetes and cardio-vascular disease. The mechanisms involved are only partially elucidated. Work within HEALTHGRAIN has revealed novel insights regarding some potential mechanisms.

Barley products rich in indigestible carbohydrates (dietary fibre and resistant starch), facilitated glycaemic regulation through a mechanism involving fermentation by gut micro-organisms. Fermentation was associated with release of specific gut hormones (GLP-1), with acknowledged benefits on a variety of parameters associated with reduced risk of the metabolic syndrome, including benefits on perceived satiety. GLP-1 is currently investigated for use as an antidiabetic, antiobesity drug, but appears to be produced endogenously in healthy subjects after intake of certain whole grain barley products rich in indigestible carbohydrates. Addition of whole grain barley products with slow glycemic response and rich in dietary fibre and resistant starch in test meals significantly improved insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic subjects as compared with whole grain wheat or white wheat.

Additionally, rye products generally produce a beneficial blood glucose profile following a meal, with a low and sustained blood glucose response. Rye products also induced lowered insulin response compared with white wheat, promoted higher post-meal satiety, and induced lowered voluntary energy intake at a subsequent meal. Studies within HEALTHGRAIN indicate that different rye genotypes vary with respect to benefits on glycaemic regulation and insulin demand.

The results are in favour of metabolic benefits of an increased consumption of in particular whole grain barley products with low glycemic response, and foods made of certain rye varieties. The results provide tools for tailoring of whole grain cereal products with magnified health benefits adjunct to the metabolic syndrome.

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The EU Integrated Project HEALTHGRAIN: The HEALTHGRAIN project has substantially strengthened the scientific basis for a new generation of cereal based products with enhanced health benefits. The project also has formed a network of research organizations, industries and organizations communicating to consumers that will continue as the HEALTHGRAIN Forum. It has been coordinated by Academy Professor Kaisa Poutanen from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Results of the project will be presented in the HEALTHGRAIN Conference on May 5-7 in Lund, Sweden: www.healthgrain.org

Division of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, Sweden: Food-related nutritional research is carried out with the aim of gaining an understanding of how the composition and properties of food affect the health of the consumer. Special interest is being focused on the possibility of optimising the nutritional content and health-promoting properties in general through the selection of raw materials and processes in the production of foodstuffs. A particular focus is on the quality characteristics of carbohydrates and proteins, and on the possible link between the gut microbiota and host metabolism. Within the subject of food chemistry, reactions are being studied in the handling, storage and processing of foodstuffs. Great importance is afforded to the development of new and specific methods for food analysis. One of our most important projects is concerned with the changes in dietary fibre during processing. Another central area is the study of the Maillard reaction in relation to safe food, i.e. the production of carcinogenic substances during the heating of food, and their effects. www.appliednutrition.lth.se

Key References:

Nilsson A, Östman E, Holst J J, Björck I (2008) Including Indigestible carbohydrates in the evening meal of healthy subjects improves glucose tolerance, lowers inflammatory markers, and increases satiety after a standardised breakfast. J Nutr 138; 732-739.

Nilsson A, Östman E, Bach Knudsen Knud Erik, Holst Jens Juul, Björck I (2010) Effects of evening test meals containing varying amounts of indigestible carbohydrates on type and amounts of plasma SCFA´s the subsequent morning. J Nutr (in press)

Rosén L, Silva L, Andersson U, Holm C, Östman E, Björck I (2009) Endosperm and whole grain rye breads are characterised by low post-prandial insulin response and a beneficial blood glucose profile. Nutr J Sep 25;8: 42-53.

Andersson U, Rosén L, Östman E, Björck I, Holm C (2010) Metabolic effects of whole grain wheat and whole grain rye in the C57BL/6J mouse. Nutrition 26 ;230-239

Further information:

Prof. Inger Björck
Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering & Antidiabetic Food Centre
Lund University
Tel +46-46-2229738, Inger.bjorck@appliednutrition.lth.se;

Elin Östman (Assoc Prof.)
Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Faculty of Engineering
Lund university
Tel +46-46-2228318, elin.ostman@appliednutrition.lth.se.

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