Effect of method of administration of psyllium on glycemic response and carbohydrate digestibility

J Am Coll Nutr. 1991 Aug;10(4):364-71. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1991.10718164.


To determine whether there was any advantage to taking a soluble fiber supplement separate from food, as opposed to incorporated into a food, we used psyllium as a model, either taken in water just before a flaked bran cereal test meal, sprinkled on top of the cereal, or actually incorporated into the flake. In normal subjects, psyllium reduced the glycemic response when sprinkled onto or incorporated into the cereal, but not when taken before the cereal. Varying the amount of psyllium incorporated into the cereal from 0 to 20% resulted in a linear dose-dependent reduction of the glycemic index (GI) (GI = 101 -2.2 x % psyllium; r = 0.950; p less than 0.002). In subjects with diabetes, the blood-glucose-lowering effect of the psyllium flake cereal was similar to that in normal subjects. Mixing psyllium with the cereal or incorporating it into the cereal reduced the rate of digestion of bran flakes in vitro but was not associated with increased breath hydrogen levels in vivo as an index of rapid colonic fermentation. The bran flakes with psyllium incorporated was rated as no less palatable than the bran flakes cereal alone, and significantly more palatable (p less than 0.05) than taking psyllium in water before the cereal or sprinkling psyllium onto the cereal. These studies confirm earlier reports that viscous fibers must be intimately mixed with the food to have the effect of reducing blood glucose responses, and that the mechanism of action relates to a reduced rate of digestion rather than carbohydrate malabsorption.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Bread
  • Breath Tests
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Digestion
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Edible Grain
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen / analysis
  • Male
  • Plantago
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Psyllium / administration & dosage*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Hydrogen
  • Psyllium