Gastrointestinal Transit Time, Glucose Homeostasis and Metabolic Health: Modulation by Dietary Fibers

Nutrients. 2018 Feb 28;10(3):275. doi: 10.3390/nu10030275.


Gastrointestinal transit time may be an important determinant of glucose homeostasis and metabolic health through effects on nutrient absorption and microbial composition, among other mechanisms. Modulation of gastrointestinal transit may be one of the mechanisms underlying the beneficial health effects of dietary fibers. These effects include improved glucose homeostasis and a reduced risk of developing metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. In this review, we first discuss the regulation of gastric emptying rate, small intestinal transit and colonic transit as well as their relation to glucose homeostasis and metabolic health. Subsequently, we briefly address the reported health effects of different dietary fibers and discuss to what extent the fiber-induced health benefits may be mediated through modulation of gastrointestinal transit.

Keywords: dietary fiber; gastrointestinal transit; microbiota; obesity; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Diet, Healthy
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Transit*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fiber