The effect of oat β-glucan on postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Zurbau, A., Noronha, J. C., Khan, T. A., Sievenpiper, J. L., & Wolever, T. (2021). The effect of oat β-glucan on postprandial blood glucose and insulin responses: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 75,1540–1554. doi:10.1038/s41430-021-00875-9



To determine the effect of oat β‑glucan (OBG) on acute glucose and insulin responses and identify significant effect modifiers we searched the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases through October 27, 2020 for acute, crossover, controlled feeding trials investigating the effect of adding OBG (concentrate or oat-bran) to carbohydrate-containing test-meals compared to comparable or different carbohydrate-matched control-meals in humans regardless of health status. The primary outcome was glucose incremental area-under-the-curve (iAUC). Secondary outcomes were insulin iAUC, and glucose and insulin incremental peak-rise (iPeak). Two reviewers extracted the data and assessed risk-of-bias and certainty-of-evidence (GRADE). Data were pooled using generic inverse-variance with random-effects model and expressed as ratio-of-means with [95% CIs]. We included 103 trial comparisons (N=538). OBG reduced glucose iAUC and iPeak by 23% (0.77 [0.74, 0.81]) and 28% (0.72 [0.64, 0.76]) and insulin by 22% (0.78 [0.72, 0.85]) and 24% (0.76 [0.65, 0.88]), respectively. Dose, molecular-weight, and comparator were significant effect modifiers of glucose iAUC and iPeak. Significant linear dose-response relationships were observed for all outcomes. OBG molecular-weight >300 kg/mol significantly reduced glucose iAUC and iPeak, whereas molecular-weight <300 kg/mol did not. Reductions in glucose iAUC (27 vs 20%, p=0.03) and iPeak (39 vs 25%, p<0.01) were significantly larger with different vs comparable control-meals. Outcomes were similar in participants with and without diabetes. All outcomes had high certainty-of-evidence. In conclusion, current evidence indicates that adding OBG to carbohydrate-containing meals reduces glycaemic and insulinaemic responses. However, the magnitude of glucose reduction depends on OBG dose, molecular-weight, and the comparator.