Millets shown to reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes

image credit- ICRISAT

Largest systematic review shows millets reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and were useful for managing the disease

A new study has shown that eating millets can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and helps manage blood glucose levels in people with diabetes, indicating the potential to design appropriate meals with millets for diabetic and pre-diabetic people as well as for non-diabetic people as a preventive approach.

Drawing on research from 11 countries, the study published in Frontiers in Nutrition shows that diabetic people who consumed millet as part of their daily diet saw their blood glucose levels drop 12-15% (fasting and post-meal), and blood glucose levels went from diabetic to pre-diabetes levels.

The HbA1c (blood glucose bound to hemoglobin) levels lowered on average 17% for pre-diabetic individuals, and the levels went from pre-diabetic to normal status. These findings affirm that eating millets can lead to a better glycemic response.

This study is first in a series of studies that has been worked on for the last four years as a part of the Smart Food initiative led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) that will be progressively released in 2021. 

“There is no easy solution to diabetes and it requires a lifestyle change, and diet is a very important part of this. This study provides one part of the solution useful for individuals and governments. How we use this and implement it into programs needs careful planning”, said Dr Hemalatha, Director, National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad.

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