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.