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Changes in serum lipids and postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations after consumption of beverages with β-glucans from oats or barley: a randomised dose-controlled trial



To investigate side by side the effects on serum lipoproteins and postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations of beverages enriched with 5 or 10 g of β-glucans from oats or barley.

Design and setting:

An 8-week single blind, controlled study with five parallel groups carried out at two centres under identical conditions.


A total of 100 free-living hypercholesterolaemic subjects were recruited locally and 89 completed the study.


During a 3-week run-in period all subjects consumed a control beverage. For the following 5-week period four groups received a beverage with 5 or 10 g β-glucans from oats or barley and one group continued with the control beverage. Blood samples in weeks 0, 2, 3, 7 and 8 were analysed for serum lipids, lipoproteins, glucose and insulin. Postprandial concentrations of glucose and insulin were compared between control and the beverage with 5 g of β-glucans from oats or barley.


Compared to control, 5 g of β-glucans from oats significantly lowered total-cholesterol by 7.4% (P<0.01), and postprandial concentrations of glucose (30 min, P=0.005) and insulin (30 min, P=0.025). The beverage with 10 g of β-glucans from oats did not affect serum lipids significantly in comparison with control. No statistically significant effects compared to control of the beverages with barley β-glucans were found.


A daily consumption of 5 g of oat β-glucans in a beverage improved the lipid and glucose metabolism, while barley β-glucans did not.


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We thank Tapani Suortti and Marjatta Salmenkallio-Marttila, VTT Biotechnology, Espoo, Finland for analysis of the molecular weight of the β-glucans in the study products, and Angeliki Öste-Triantafyllou, Ceba AB, Lund, Sweden for helping with the formulation of the study products. This work was carried out with financial support from the Commission of the European Communities, project QLKI-CY-2000-00535 ‘Design of foods with improved functionality and superior health effects using cereal β-glucans’. It does not necessarily reflect its views and in no way anticipates the Commission's future policy in this area.

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Correspondence to G Önning.

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Guarantor: G Önning.

Contributors: MB and AvR were responsible at each study centre for the study protocol, study recruitment, day-to-day running of the study and data analysis. MB also performed the statistical analysis, evaluated the results and wrote the manuscript. GÖ and RM designed and supervised the study and were involved in the evaluation of the results and writing of the manuscript.

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Biörklund, M., van Rees, A., Mensink, R. et al. Changes in serum lipids and postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations after consumption of beverages with β-glucans from oats or barley: a randomised dose-controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 59, 1272–1281 (2005).

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  • β-glucan
  • oats
  • barley
  • LDL-cholesterol
  • glucose
  • insulin

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