Barley Improves Blood Sugar, Reduces Appetite, Study Suggests

March 1, 2016
Michael Crane

Researchers observed improvements to metabolism, blood sugar, and appetite control after just three days of participants consuming bread made from barley kernels.

Researchers in Sweden have found that consuming bread made from barley kernels may improve metabolism, blood sugar, insulin levels, and appetite control.1 What’s more, the researchers observed the positive effects after just three days of participants eating the barley bread.

“It is surprising, yet promising, that choosing the right blend of dietary fibers can-in a short period of time-generate such remarkable health benefits,” said Anne Nilsson, one author of the study and association professor at the Food for Health Science Centre at Lund University (Lund, Sweden).

The randomized crossover study included 20 middle-aged participants who consumed either a reference white wheat bread or the barley bread, which was 85% made out of barley kernels that were boiled and mixed with white flour. Participants were asked to eat the bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three days.

At approximately 11–14 hours after the final meal, researchers examined risk indicators of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including breath H2 excretion and fasting serum short chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentrations, b-glucose, s-insulin response, and insulin sensitivity index.

Following the barley bread intervention, participants experienced an improvement in metabolism, an increase in insulin sensitivity, a decrease in blood sugar and insulin levels, and improved appetite control.

“After eating the bread made out of barley kernel, we saw an increase in gut hormones that regulate metabolism and appetite, and an increase in a hormone that helps reduce chronic low-grade inflammation, among the participants,” said Nilsson. “In time, this could help prevent the occurrence of both cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

A related study2 also conducted in Sweden may shed some light on the mechanism of action behind barley’s beneficial effects.  Researchers found that dietary fibers from barley kernels may increase the gut bacteria content of Prevotella copri, which may help regulate blood sugar levels and decrease proportions of unhealthy gut bacteria.

 

Read more:

Barley Water and Pickle Juice Make a Splash in Functional Drinks

Khorasan Wheat May Reduce Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes

Xylooligosaccharide Prebiotic Improves Gut Flora in Pre-Diabetic Subjects, Study Suggests

 

Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine
michael.crane@ubm.com

References:

1.     Nilsson AC et al., “Increased gut hormones and insulin sensitivity index following a 3-d intervention with a barley kernel-based product: a randomised cross-over study in healthy middle-aged subjects,” British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 114, no. 6 (September 2015): 899–907

2.     Kovatcheva-Datchary P et al., “Dietary fiber-induced improvement in glucose metabolism is associated with increased abundance of Prevotella,” Cell Metabolism, vol. 22, no. 6 (December 2015): 971-982