Insulin and Insulin Resistance” src=”https://www.diabeticlive.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Barley-Fiber-Product-Improves-Post-Meal-Insulin-and-Insulin-Resistance-300×300.jpg” alt=”Barley Fiber Product Improves Post-Meal Insulin and Insulin Resistance” width=”300″ height=”300″ />A new study funded by Cargill has demonstrated that beverages fortified with a type of fiber produced from barley could reduce the impact of spikes in blood sugar occurring after a meal and may also increase insulin sensitivity. The findings of the study were published in the journal “Nutrition & Metabolism.”
Branded as Barliv, the fiber was shown in tests to reduce blood glucose levels by 10.2 percent with a three-gram dose. That’s an improvement over the 7.5 percent decrease in blood sugar that study participants displayed when they received a placebo beverage.
Barliv also showed promise as a long-term treatment for decreasing insulin resistance. Participants who consumed a beverage containing six grams of Barliv every day for 12 weeks showed a 19 percent decrease in insulin resistance while a placebo group showed a 42 percent increase. Insulin resistance is the inability of the body to respond to normal levels of insulin and is a common precursor to Type 2 diabetes.
“Because this trial was designed to ensure study subjects underwent protocol-directed maintenance of body weight, it is noteworthy that the metabolic findings occurred without significant weight changes in any of the study groups,” said the researchers. The study was a joint effort conducted by scientists from Louisville Metabolic & Atherosclerosis Research Center, Cargill, the University of Kentucky, ClinData Services, and Frestedt Incorporated.
The study consisted of 50 individuals classified as “generally healthy” according to the researchers. The trial was prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, and double-blind. Participants were separated into three groups; one group received a placebo beverage to consume daily while the other two received the beverage containing either 3 or 6 grams of Barliv. Both the placebo and Barliv beverages were raspberry-flavored.
Participants receiving the 3 gram dose of Barliv showed a 10 percent reduction in glucose levels; those receiving the 6 gram dose displayed a similar reduction, but the difference was not statistically significant. The group receiving 6 grams of Barliv had an 8 percent decrease in fasting insulin — or insulin levels between meals — while the placebo group actually showed an increase in fasting insulin.
The barley beta-glucan beverage was also associated with a reduction in body fat percentage — a 3.9 percent reduction in fat concentrations in the hips, buttocks, and thighs. However, no weight loss was recorded.
“This study supports that the 6 g/d barley beta-glucan beverage consumed over 12 weeks improves insulin sensitivity among hyperglycemic individuals who have no prior diagnosis of diabetes mellitus and no change in body weight,” said the researchers. “This study suggests barley beta-glucan may slow the deterioration of insulin sensitivity for individuals at increased risk for diabetes mellitus.”
The findings of the study could prove to be a ray of light in the fight against Type 2 diabetes, especially for those who already have pre-diabetes and are at an increased risk. The World Health Organization states that over 220 million people around the world are affected every year by diabetes, while 3.4 million die every year due to diabetes or complications from the disease. Diabetes has been on the rise for decades and the WHO is predicting that the trend won’t stop, stating that deaths from diabetes will double from 2005 to 2030.
Diabetes is a tremendous strain on health care, costing the United States alone up to $174 billion per year. A sizable portion of that number goes directly to medication for diabetes — about $116 billion of it, according to the American Diabetes Association.