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To determine whether increasing doses (amounts) of beta-glucan present in an extruded breakfast cereal affect the glycemic and insulinemic responses in eight NIDDM subjects, compared with the same responses after a continental breakfast (bread, milk, cheese, ham).Breakfast cereals were produced using various proportions of oat bran enriched in fiber, which contain an unusually high amount of a viscous polysaccharide, called beta-glucan, and oat bran. The carbohydrate load was 35 g.The maximum increases observed in plasma glucose after the breakfast cereal were 67 percent (P less than 0.05), 42 percent (P less than 0.001), and 38 percent (P less than 0.001) with 4.0, 6.0, and 8.4 g beta-glucan, respectively, compared with the continental breakfast. There was a linear inverse relationship between dose of beta-glucan and plasma glucose peak or area under the glucose curve (R2 = 0.94, P less than 0.05). Postprandial insulin increase was only 59-67 percent (P less than 0.01) as high as the continental breakfast after all three levels of beta-glucan.The 50 percent decrease in glycemic response that was observed after the ingestion of 35 g carbohydrate is estimated to occur with approximately 5 g beta-glucan. This dose of beta-glucan can easily be attained without the loss of taste by incorporating oat bran concentrate in products.