In humans, the consumption of soluble fibers reduces glycemic response after a meal. We hypothesized high soluble fiber diets would reduce and delay postprandial glucose and insulin responses in horses. In a 4 × 4 Latin square design experiment, four Quarter Horse geldings were adapted to diets containing orchardgrass hay (ORCH) or ORCH with 1 of 3 treatment ingredients: molassed sugar beet pulp (BEET), almond hulls (HULL), or steam-crimped oats (OATS). Blood was serially sampled for 6 hours after feeding 0.15% body weight (BW) of the treatment ingredient (meal test) or 1.1 g starch/kg BW from oats plus the treatment ingredient (starch test) to evaluate glycemic and insulinemic responses. Glycemic response during the meal test peaked between 60 and 90 min after feeding (P < .05) and tended to be altered by diet (P = .071) and diet × time (P = .076). Serum insulin was affected by diet (P = .008), time (P < .001), and diet × time (P < .001) during the meal test, with concentrations lower in ORCH compared with BEET and OATS (P < .05). In the starch test, glucose was lower (P < .05) in ORCH and HULL compared with BEET and insulin was lower (P = .046) in ORCH compared with BEET. In both tests, horses took longer (P < .05) to consume HULL, likely influencing postprandial responses. Future research integrating the functional properties of feeds with physiological responses will be necessary to elucidate how soluble fiber affects postprandial glucose metabolism in horses.
Keywords: Almond hull; Dietary fiber; Starch; Sugar beet pulp; Volatile fatty acid.
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