In a nutshell
This study looked at whether oat bran consumption benefited women with diabetes during pregnancy. It found that adding oat bran to the recommended diet improved blood sugar levels in these women.
Gestational diabetes (GD) is a common pregnancy-related health condition. It involves high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. The body obtains glucose from foods with carbohydrates. Sugar is a simple type of carbohydrate which is easily absorbed by the gut and causes a rapid spike in blood sugar. Starches, such as pasta and rice, are a complex carbohydrate which the gut breaks down into glucose. Starches still cause a spike in blood glucose, but not as fast as sugary foods.
Some foods can slow down the gut’s digestion of sugars and starches. Both protein and fat are digested more slowly than starches. Also, fiber-rich starches are broken down more slowly than refined starches. Eating complete meals with fat, protein, and fiber can improve blood glucose control compared to starchy foods alone.
The fiber in vegetables and whole grains has many benefits. Slowing down digestion leads to a longer, slower release of glucose into the blood. This provides a person with energy for more of the day, without a spike in blood sugar. Fiber absorbs cholesterol, improving heart health. Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, also encourages friendly bacteria in the gut. The microbiome, or gut bacteria, influences many aspects of health including hunger and metabolism.
Oat bran is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Oat bran may improve blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes. However, oat bran consumption is not well studied for pregnant women with GD.
Methods & findings
This study started with 112 women with GD. Because some participants left, 104 women finished the study. All of the women were given nutritional information on a diabetes-friendly diet. Additionally, half of the women were randomly assigned to the oat bran group. They ate 30 g of oat bran every day with both lunch and dinner. The comparison group ate their usual meals. The two groups had similar ages and weights and were similarly far along in their pregnancies. The women were followed for 4 weeks.
The researchers tested the patients’ blood sugar after fasting overnight, and again after eating. At the start of the study, the two groups had similar blood glucose levels.
Both groups had better blood glucose levels four weeks after the nutritional counseling than at the start of the study. However, the oat bran group had significantly better fasting blood glucose than the comparison group (84.59 vs. 92.77 mg/dl). The oat bran group also had significantly better glucose levels two hours after eating (104.04 vs. 117.49 mg/dl).
The bottom line
This study found that eating daily oat bran can improve blood glucose levels for women with GD.
The fine print
This was a short study. Additional studies are needed on whether oat bran improves longer-term glucose control.
Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about whether daily oat bran or another type of fiber supplement, can benefit your health during pregnancy.
Published By :
BMC endocrine disorders
Apr 13, 2021
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