Effects of GI vs content of cereal fibre of the evening meal on glucose tolerance at a subsequent standardized breakfast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To investigate if the improved glucose tolerance previously observed at breakfast following an evening meal with boiled barley kernels derives from colonic events related to the fermentation of the elevated amounts of indigestible carbohydrates present and/or from the low-GI features.

Subjects/Methods: Twenty healthy volunteers aged 19–30 years.

Design: High-GI white wheat bread (WWB), WWB+barley dietary fibre (DF) corresponding to the DF content of barley kernels, low-GI spaghetti+ barley DF, spaghetti+double amounts of barley DF (2*DF), spaghetti+oat DF, or whole grain barley flour porridge, were provided as late evening meals. At a subsequent standardised WWB breakfast, B-glucose, s-insulin, p-SCFA, p-FFA, and breath hydrogen (H2) were measured.
Results: The B-glucose response (incremental areas under the curves (IAUC) 0–120 min and total areas under the curves 0–180 min) to the standardized breakfast was significantly lower after consuming spaghetti+2DF in the evening compared with barley porridge (P=0.012). The spaghetti+2DF meal also resulted in the highest breath H2 excretion (P<0.02). The glucose IAUC (0–120 min) after the standardized breakfast was positively correlated to fasting p-FFA (r=0.29, P<0.02), and the total glucose area (0–180 min) was negatively correlated to the p-propionate level (0–30 min) (r=-0.24, P<0.02).

Conclusions: The prolonged digestive and absorptive phase per se, like with a low-glycaemic index (GI) spaghetti evening meal, did not induce overnight benefits on glucose tolerance. Addition of barley DF in high amounts (2DF) was required to improve overnight glucose tolerance. The correlations observed between glycaemia and p-propionate implicate colonic fermentation as a modulator of glucose tolerance through a mechanism leading to suppressed free fatty acids levels. It is proposed that the overnight benefits on glucose tolerance previously reported for boiled barley kernels is mediated through colonic fermentation of the prebiotic carbohydrates present in this product.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • colonic fermentation, glycaemic index, glucose tolerance, resistant starch, dietary fibre, second-meal effect
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-720
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

advance online publication 23 May 2007 The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry (011001300)