Potential interest of gut microbial changes induced by non-digestible carbohydrates of wheat in the management of obesity and related disorders

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2010 Nov;13(6):722-8. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32833ec3fb.


Purpose of review: The modulation of the gut microbiota by nutrients is of interest in order to reverse host metabolic alterations linked to gut microbiota dysbiosis. This review discusses how nondigestible carbohydrates (NDC) derived from wheat may constitute functional cereal food products in the management of obesity and diabetes, notably through modulation of gut microbiota.

Recent findings: Recent evidences highlighted that alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota participate in the development of obesity. Interesting nutrients that target specific gut microbes (prebiotics) are able to reverse host metabolic alterations linked to gut microbiota dysbiosis in obese individuals. Recent data suggest that NDC prepared from wheat represent a new class of nutrients exhibiting prebiotic properties.

Summary: Processing technologies of wheat grain lead to production of original NDC characterized by specific degree of polymerization and degree of substitution. Those characteristics condition the gut compartment where fermentation occurs, the changes of bacteria composition and the proportion of bacterial metabolites (i.e., short-chain fatty acids) released in the gut. Scientists may take into consideration a key question: could we help control obesity and type 2 diabetes through the modulation of gut bacterial metabolism and/or composition by wheat-derived NDC? This opens up an original area in nutrition research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / microbiology
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Edible Grain
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / microbiology
  • Prebiotics
  • Triticum / chemistry*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Prebiotics