Over the years, medical science has published many papers on the health effects of dietary fibres. While the active constituents in various fibres, yield different pharmacological effects, Psyllium, or Plantago ovata is really an ultra-fibre that we should all use.
Most interesting , for the athlete looking to become keto-adapted (i.e. fueled by fat, and ketones), is its ability to reduce post-meal blood glucose and insulin concentrations. The more we keep blood-sugar and insulin levels down, the more the body will rely on fat, as the preferred prime energy source to fuel body activity.
In one study involving diabetic patients (non-insulin dependent), Psyllium fibre showed a 14% reduction in insulin production after a breakfast meal, and a 20% reduction after a dinner meal. Even more interesting was its lasting effect to a post-breakfast 2nd meal (i.e. lunch) – where post-meal blood-glucose was reduced by 31%. In another study, Psyllium treated patients had an all-day glucose concentration 11% lower than placebo patients, and over 19% lower in post-lunch measurements.
Aside from reducing insulin levels (and increasing fat utilization for energy), a more stable blood sugar/insulin level, will help us avoid those dreaded sugar-binges.
However, for most people, the mid-morning snack is part of our daily routine – and in a lot of cases, it’s typically higher in carbs and poor quality fats. What is the role of Psyllium here? Triple-blind cross-over studies have shown, that the addition of Psyllium causes a significant difference in the sense of ‘fullness’ 1Hr post-meal (breakfast etc.). Also the total amount of fat intake (for the day) following Psyllium consumption was lower versus drinking water after meals. Even in the case where, a high-glycemic food is eaten, adding Psyllium to the meal significantly reduced in-vitro (in test-tube) and in-vivo (in human body) glycemic responses. Interestingly, the same could not be said for Oat Bran.
So, adding this ultra-fibre to your morning breakfast, or smoothie will pay high dividends in managing your blood sugar and insulin levels.
1. Psyllium fiber reduces rise in postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Pastors JG. Jun 1991.
2. Effects of Psyllium on glucose and serum lipid responses in men with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. Anderson JW. Oct 1999.
3. Psyllium decreased serum glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin significantly in diabetic outpatients. Ziai SA. Nov 2005.
4. The effect of a Plantago ovata seed containing preparation on appetite variables, nutrient and energy intake. Turnbull Wh. May 1995.
5. Impact of dietary fibre-enriched ready-to-eat extruded snacks on the postprandial glycemic response of non-diabetic patients. Brennan MA. May 2012.