Increased consumption of fermentable fibers, common to most fruits and vegetables, triggers the production of glucose by the intestine, which may help prevent diabetes and obesity.
The research team, led by Giles Mithieux of the French National Centre for Scientific research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique – CNRS), explains that many foods high in fermentable fiber, such as cabbage, beans and most sweet fruit and vegetables, are unable to be digested by the intestine directly.
Instead, intestinal bacteria ferments these fibers into short-chain fatty acids, including butyrate and propionate. These fatty acids can then be absorbed by the body.
The investigators say that it is a well-known fact that a high-fiber diet has a protective effect against diabetes and obesity, but what are the mechanisms behind this?
To find out, the researchers looked to the glucose-producing capabilities of the intestine.
Intestine ‘triggers protective effects' from fiber
The intestine synthesizes glucose and releases it into the bloodstream at night and between meals.
This picture highlights the enzyme responsible for the final reaction in glucose production of the intestine in red.
Image credit: Inserm/MITHIEUX G. & BESNARD …