Dietary fibers are defined as the component of the plants or analog carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion and absorption in the human small bowel. The America Dietetic Association recommends an ingestion of 20-30g of fiber per day. Evidences suggest that a diet rich in fibers brings benefits to health maintenance, by reducing the risk and the time of treatment of chronic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diverticulitis and diabetes. Fibers are classified as a soluble and insoluble with distinct physiological effects. Ingestion of insoluble fibers increases the fecal bolus and reduces the transit time of food through the bowel. Soluble fibers delay gastric emptying and glucose absorption reducing the post prandial glycemia and reduce blood cholesterol levels due to a physic characteristic that confers viscosity to the luminal content. Beta-glucans are highly viscous and their consumption has been related to the attenuation of post-prandial glycemic and insulin response. Dietary beta-glucans have impact on starch degradation and carbohydrates availability and consequently at the glycemic index of the ingested food. Consumption of beta-glucans is recommended aiming to modulate the glycemia and the insulin needs, to manage the obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. This paper brings information about dietary fibers and the use of beta-glucans on the treatment of diabetes.
Dietary fibers; Beta-glucans; Diabetes; Glycemia