Dietary Fiber Stabilizes Blood Glucose and Insulin Levels and Reduces Physical Activity in Sows(Sus scrofa)1,2

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to test whether a diet with a high level of fermentable dietary fiber can stabilize interprandial blood glucose and insulin levels, prevent declines below basal levels, and reduce physical activity in limited-fed breeding sows. Stable levels of glucose and insulin may prevent interprandial feelings of hunger and, consequently, increased activity. Catheterized sows (n = 10) were fed twice daily (0700 and 1900 h) 900 g of a diet with either a low (L-sows) or a high level of fermentable dietary fiber (H-sows; sugarbeet pulp). Blood samples, taken between feeding times, were analyzed for glucose and insulin levels (basal and area under the curve) and stability of levels (variance and sum of absolute differences between levels in consecutive samples). The main focus was on samples taken after the postprandial peak. Behavior was videotaped for analysis of postures and posture changes. Basal glucose and insulin levels did not differ between treatments. H-sows had more stable levels than L-sows. Interprandial levels of H-sows were higher than or equal to basal levels. L-sows showed a decline in glucose below basal levels at 1400 h (P < 0.05). Before 1400 h, no difference in the frequency of posture changes was observed between treatments. After 1400 h, the frequency of posture changes increased more in L-sows than in H-sows. We concluded that sugarbeet pulp as a source of fermentable dietary fiber stabilizes glucose and insulin levels and reduces physical activity in limited-fed sows several hours after feeding. This may indicate a prolonged feeling of satiety. J. Nutr. 134: 1481-1486, 2004.

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