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

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Nov;59(11):1272-81. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602240.


Objectives: 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 beta-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.

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

Interventions: 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 beta-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 beta-glucans from oats or barley.

Results: Compared to control, 5 g of beta-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 beta-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 beta-glucans were found.

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

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Avena*
  • Beverages*
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified
  • Hordeum*
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Postprandial Period / drug effects*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sweden
  • beta-Glucans / administration & dosage
  • beta-Glucans / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • beta-Glucans