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Glycaemic and insulinaemic response to dietary fibre in horses


Dietary sugar and starch affect plasma glucose and insulin concentration. Little information is available about the effect of dietary fibre on plasma glucose and insulin concentration. It is hypothesized that different dietary fibre compositions will alter post-prandial glycaemic and insulinaemic index of test diets.


The objective was to measure postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations in horses fed diets of different fibre compositions.

Material and methods

Four geldings in a Latin Square design were fed 4 diets: (H) timothy hay, (OB) whole oats and molassed sugar beet pulp (Betfor®), (BB) whole barley and Betfor®, chaff based concentrate (M). Starch did not exceed 1 g starch per kg BW per meal. The horses were fasted 8 hours prior to sampling. Blood was drawn via jugular vein puncture into heparinized vacutainer tubes at time 0 before the morning meal and again at time (min) 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 105, 120, 135, 150, 165, 180, 210, 240, 270, 330, 390, 450, 510, 570 post feeding. Immediately after sampling, the tubes were centrifuged; plasma was harvested and stored at -20 °C. Blood plasma was analysed for insulin and glucose. Feeds were analysed for dietary fibre, non-starch polysaccharides, soluble non-cellulosic polysaccharides and NDF.


Mean area under the plasma curve (AUC) was 3101 (H), 3152 (OB), 3140 (BB) and 3275 (M) for glucose and 6670 (H), 9296 (OB), 8055 (BB) and 8334 (M) for insulin. The AUC did not differ significantly between diets.


In conclusion, diets containing different fibre compositions did not affect the glycaemic and insulinaemic index in horses.

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Correspondence to Christine Brøkner.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Brøkner, C., Austbø, D., Næsset, J.A. et al. Glycaemic and insulinaemic response to dietary fibre in horses. Acta Vet Scand 57, P2 (2015).

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  • Starch
  • Dietary Fibre
  • Insulin Concentration
  • Post Feeding
  • Sugar Beet Pulp