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Rebelling against the (Insulin) Resistance: A Review of the Proposed Insulin-Sensitizing Actions of Soybeans, Chickpeas, and Their Bioactive Compounds

by Jaime L. Clark 1,2, Carla G. Taylor 1,2,3 and Peter Zahradka 1,2,3,*
1
Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine, St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre, Winnipeg, MB R2H 2A6, Canada
2
Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2, Canada
3
Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3E 0T5, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(4), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10040434
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 25 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrients, Bioactives and Insulin Resistance)
Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Current methods for management of insulin resistance include pharmacological therapies and lifestyle modifications. Several clinical studies have shown that leguminous plants such as soybeans and pulses (dried beans, dried peas, chickpeas, lentils) are able to reduce insulin resistance and related type 2 diabetes parameters. However, to date, no one has summarized the evidence supporting a mechanism of action for soybeans and pulses that explains their ability to lower insulin resistance. While it is commonly assumed that the biological activities of soybeans and pulses are due to their antioxidant activities, these bioactive compounds may operate independent of their antioxidant properties and, thus, their ability to potentially improve insulin sensitivity via alternative mechanisms needs to be acknowledged. Based on published studies using in vivo and in vitro models representing insulin resistant states, the proposed mechanisms of action for insulin-sensitizing actions of soybeans, chickpeas, and their bioactive compounds include increasing glucose transporter-4 levels, inhibiting adipogenesis by down-regulating peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, reducing adiposity, positively affecting adipokines, and increasing short-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria in the gut. Therefore, this review will discuss the current evidence surrounding the proposed mechanisms of action for soybeans and certain pulses, and their bioactive compounds, to effectively reduce insulin resistance. View Full-Text
Keywords: soybeans; pulses; chickpeas; insulin resistance; bioactive compounds; GLUT4; PPARγ; adipokines; adiponectin; short-chain fatty acids soybeans; pulses; chickpeas; insulin resistance; bioactive compounds; GLUT4; PPARγ; adipokines; adiponectin; short-chain fatty acids
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Clark, J.L.; Taylor, C.G.; Zahradka, P. Rebelling against the (Insulin) Resistance: A Review of the Proposed Insulin-Sensitizing Actions of Soybeans, Chickpeas, and Their Bioactive Compounds. Nutrients 2018, 10, 434.

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