Fluid thickener linked to lowering blood sugar after eating, study says
A new study shows that liquid thickeners lower blood sugar after a meal, which could help patients with heart disease or type 2 diabetes, according to researchers at Tokyo University of Medicine and Dentistry. File photo Shutterstock/UPI/Image Point Fr
Dec. 27 (UPI) — Researchers in Japan have linked a xanthan gum-based liquid thickener to lowering blood sugar after a meal, which could help patients with heart disease or type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by researchers at Tokyo University of Medicine and Dentistry, found that xanthan gum — used in several foods, including liquid thickeners to prevent choking in patients — helped increase insulin responseimproves fat metabolism and has a positive effect on the intestinal microbiome.
While previous studies have shown that heart disease and metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, are linked to postprandial blood glucose levels, certain foods such as vinegar have been reported to help lower glucose levels when eaten with a meal. Dietary fibers, such as xanthan gum, also have a similar effect.
“Xanthan gum is a viscous soluble fiber that forms a non-diffusible aqueous layer, which affects the rate of nutrient diffusion into the intestinal lumen…and inhibits nutrient absorption by prolonging absorption time,” says the study.
“However, the biological effects of liquid thickeners on postprandial blood glucose levels, gene expression in the gastrointestinal tract, and the gut microbiome have not been fully elucidated,” the study added.
In the study, the researchers used two groups of rats, with one group receiving a liquid xanthan gum-based thickener and the other group receiving a saline solution, for five weeks.
The results showed that blood glucose levels 60 to 90 minutes after eating were significantly lower in rats that received the thickened liquid.
“The mechanism by which this happened is very interesting. Administration of thickened fluid reduced blood glucose levels associated with Glp1 and Glp1r expression in the ileum,” said senior author Haruka Tohara.
The study also found that the composition of gut microbes was also altered after drinking the thickened liquid, causing an increase in two “good” gut bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids that protect gut cells and the pancreatic cells responsible for insulin secretion.