Cargill's Barliv barley may improve insulin sensitivity

Cargill's Barliv barley may improve insulin sensitivity

Nutrition and Metabolism publishes clinical trial results on Barliv™ barley betafiber and reveals expanded health benefits that may play a key role in developing new products.

Breaking news about the expanded health bentefits of Barliv barley betafiber was published Aug. 16, 2011 in the Nutrition and Metabolismjournal. The peer-reviewed paper describes results of a recent clinical trial, which concluded that Barliv barley betafiber may play a role in improving insulin sensitivity among generally healthy individuals who have moderately elevated blood sugar levels. Individuals in the clinical trial who consumed 6g/day of Barliv barley betafiber also had a 3.9% reduction of body fat in the hips, buttocks and thighs, despite maintaining their weight during the study as instructed.

These findings expand the health benefits of Barlivbarley betafiber, a natural soluble fiber developed by Cargill, beyond its well-recognized cholesterol reduction capability which is backed by a U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) health claim*. Results of this trial are especially promising for the epidemic number of people worldwide who are pre-diabetic and who are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The 12-week randomized, placebo controlled, double blind, clinical trial, conducted at Louisville Metabolic & Atherosclerosis Research Center (Louisville, KY) and KGK Synergize (London, ON)assessed the impact of barley b-glucan (Barliv barley betafiber) on glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. Ineffective handling of glucose and insulin resistance are markers for increased risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases.

The 50 healthy participants – each at risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus because they had “prediabetic” elevated blood sugar levels – were randomized into three groups: placebo and three grams/day or six grams/day of Barliv barley betafiber (in the form of a flavored water beverage). Because weight changes can impact both of these variables, the researchers took steps to ensure that the participants kept their weight constant during the trial period. The findings suggest that six grams/day of Barliv barley betafiber over 12 weeks was well-tolerated and can improve insulin sensitivity among generally healthy people with pre-diabetes who have no prior diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. 

“Since this study demonstrated that barley betafiber improved glycemic parameters despite no change in body weight, this suggests that it may have glycemic benefits in humans beyond effects of weight loss,” said lead researcher, Harold Bays, M.D.

The other somewhat suprising finding was that subjects who consumed six grams of Barliv barley betafiber daily for 12 weeks lost 3.9% body fat from their hips, buttocks and thighs. That’s enough to enable a typical adult woman to move to a smaller pant size.

"Incredibly, this change in fat distribution happened without effort, and is thought to be related to Barliv’s positive impact on insulin resistance,” said Lore Kolberg, associate director, Cargill Regulatory and Scientific Affairs.

This is great news for customers interested in launching products to address the rapidly growing health concerns of diabetes and other chronic diseases. For additional information, visit

*FDA’s Authorized Health Claim: Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 3 grams per day of beta-glucan soluble fiber from barley betafiber may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 130,000 people in 63 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit


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