ICMR study links diabetes remission and prevention with modest dietary changes

Researchers use mathematical modelling to predict both remission and prevention of diabetes

The prevalence of diabetes in India is rapidly escalating, with 74 million people in the country estimated to have diabetes, and over 80 million having pre-diabetes. Earlier studies have shown that excess carbohydrate in the diet (polished white rice in the South and East, and refined wheat in the North and West of India) contribute to increased susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. The diet of most Indians consists of about 65 to 70% carbohydrate, with very little protein.

 A recent national study, the ICMR-INDIAB study funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), based on 18,090 adults has shown, using a linear regression model and quadratic programming, that if the carbohydrate content of the Indian diet can be brought down to 49 to 54% and the protein increased to 19 to 20% and fat maintained around 21 to 26%, diabetes remission (reversal) can be achieved. For prevention of progression from pre-diabetes to diabetes, carbohydrate content of 54-57%, protein of 16-20% and fat of 20-24% would suffice.

Commenting on the research paper Dr R M Anjana, Vice-President, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF), first author of the study, “Unlike previous studies which have recommended a very low (near zero) carbohydrate intake which is unsustainable in the Indian context, our results show that even a modest reduction in carbohydrate intake with an increase in protein, along with healthy fats, can help to both reverse diabetes as well as prevent its progression”.

The ICMR-INDIAB study which was carried out in the whole country, and included data from 29 States and 2 Union Territories, is the largest epidemiological study on diabetes done in India.

Image credit- shutterstock

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