Research Project

The effect of barley beta-glucan on human glycemic response: a meta-analysis

This Barley Research Cluster project was funded by Alberta Barley in collaboration with the Atlantic Grains Council, the Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute, Rahr Malting and the Western Grains Research Foundation via the AgriInnovation Program.

Project lead: Dr. Nancy Ames, Research Scientist
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Start Date: April 2013

End Date: March 2015

Alberta Barley’s contribution:  $2,300
Total funding from other partners: $14,300

Benefits for barley farmers:
The findings will help identify if there are gaps in the research and guide Canadian barley stakeholders in preparing a new health claim submission for barley related to glycemic control. Furthering knowledge of the health benefits of barley will contribute to scientific evidence supporting the legislation of health claims for barley, giving barley farmers, food manufacturers and retailers a valuable marketing tool.

Progress has been made towards the completion of a meta-analysis of the relationship between barley consumption and glycemic response. A comprehensive literature search has been completed and a systematic selection of quality studies based on stringent requirements is ongoing.

In order to precisely quantify the efficacy of barley and barley products as a means to control glycemic response and diabetes, a statistical meta-analysis was performed on the data from randomized controlled clinical trials published to date. This analysis involved a comprehensive literature search and systematic selection of studies prior to applying a powerful statistical tool to determine results from pooled estimates. The meta-analysis indicated that consumption of barley and barley ?-glucan was effective in lowering postprandial glycaemic response in a healthy population and identified gaps in the literature that could help improve future clinical studies.

The findings of this study contribute to substantiating the health benefits of barley, inevitably helping to integrate more whole barley foods into the average consumer diet, improve the health of Canadians, and assist the barley industry to capitalize on the market potential for innovative food products that meet the needs of health-conscious consumers and an increasingly diabetic population.

The goal of this research activity has been met and results are published in the Journal of Functional Foods.

AbuMweis, S., Thandapilly, S. J., Storsley, J., & Ames, N. (2016). Effect of barley beta-glucan on postprandial glycaemic response in the healthy human population: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Functional Foods, 27, 329-342. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2016.08.057