Effect of a modified guar gum preparation on glucose and lipid levels in diabetics and healthy volunteers

Atherosclerosis. 1982 Oct;45(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/0021-9150(82)90166-6.


Six healthy volunteers and 17 diabetics (6 insulin-dependent and 11 diet- and tablet-treated) were treated with a special processed, palatable guar gum (10 g b.i.d. immediately before meals) for periods of one or three weeks or, in some cases, up to 13 weeks. A standardized test meal was given to study the effect of the fiber on postprandial glucose levels. Ten g guar was stirred in water and taken immediately before the test meal. The postprandial blood glucose levels were similar in the healthy volunteers but significantly lower in the diabetics following treatment with guar for one and three weeks, respectively. Furthermore, the fasting blood glucose levels were significantly lower in the diabetics after three, but not one, weeks of treatment. The lower postprandial glucose levels were coupled with attenuated and delayed insulin levels in accordance with an effect of guar gum on the rate of carbohydrate absorption. The cholesterol levels were on average reduced with 14% in the diabetics following three weeks' treatment with guar. The higher the initial cholesterol level, the greater the reduction in cholesterol; 26% reduction was achieved in four patients with initial levels above 7 mM. The alpha-lipoprotein cholesterol levels were not significantly changed, thus an increase in the alpha-lipoprotein cholesterol/total serum cholesterol ratio was obtained. Neither plasma triglycerides nor body weights altered during treatment. The reported side-effects were as expected and were usually mild and transient (e.g. increased flatulence). The data show that guar gum also reduces postprandial glucose levels on a long-term basis and may improve the diabetic control. Additionally, treatment with this fiber leads to a concentration-dependent decrease in cholesterol levels.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Body Weight
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood*
  • Dietary Fiber / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Galactans / adverse effects
  • Galactans / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Male
  • Mannans / adverse effects
  • Mannans / pharmacology*
  • Plant Gums
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Galactans
  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Mannans
  • Plant Gums
  • Polysaccharides
  • Cholesterol
  • guar gum