To determine the effect of a starch-rich treat, added to the daily diet of ponies for 10 days, on enteroinsular responses to meal consumption.
10 mixed-breed adult ponies owned by Queensland University of Technology were used in the study. Six ponies were metabolically healthy, and 4 were insulin dysregulated at the start of the study, according to the results of an in-feed oral glucose test.
A bread-based treat was offered twice daily for 10 days, adding 0.36 ± 0.04 g/kg body weight (BW) carbohydrates to the daily diet. Before and after treatment, the intestinal capacity for simple carbohydrate absorption was approximated with a modified D-xylose absorption test. Plasma glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2), blood glucose, and serum insulin responses to eating were also measured before and after treatment.
The absorption of D-xylose (area under the curve [AUC]) increased 1.6-fold (P < .001) after 10 days of eating the treat. In addition, while basal (fasted) GLP-2 concentrations were not affected, GLP-2 AUC increased 1.4-fold in response to eating (P = .005). The treat did not change blood glucose or serum insulin concentrations, before, during, or after eating.
A small amount of additional carbohydrate each day in the form of a treat can cause a measurable change in the enteroinsular responses to eating.