Millet Consumption Reduces Blood Sugar and Risk of Developing Diabetes : Study

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Article by Dr Kartikeya Kohli; Originally Published in



Consumption of millet based diet can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and helps manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, finds a new study.

Millet consumption reduces blood sugar and risk of developing diabetes:

The study revealed that diabetic people who consumed millet as part of their daily diet saw their blood sugar levels drop 12-15% (fasting and post-meal), and blood sugar 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. The study from 11 countries indicates the potential to design appropriate meals with millets for diabetic and prediabetic people as well as for non-diabetic people as a preventive approach.

The study has been published in Frontiers in Nutrition.

Millets, including sorghum, were consumed as staple cereals in many parts of the world until half a century ago. Investments in a few crops such as rice, wheat and maize, have edged nutritious and climate-smart crops like millets out of the plate.Millets are known to be highly nutritious besides having a low carbon footprint and the ability to survive in high temperatures with minimal water. Millets are widely recognised as having a low Glycaemic Index (GI) helping to manage diabetes.

The authors reviewed 80 published studies on humans of which 65 were eligible for a meta-analysis involving about 1,000 human subjects, making this analysis the largest systematic review on the topic to date. “No one knew there were so many scientific studies undertaken on millets’ effect on diabetes and these benefits were often contested. This systematic review of the studies published in scientific journals has proven that millets can keep blood glucose levels in check and reduce the risk of diabetes. It has also shown just how well these smart foods do it,” said Dr. S Anitha, the study’s lead author and a Senior Nutrition Scientist at ICRISAT.

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The study also identified information gaps and highlighted a need for collaborations to have one major diabetes study covering all types of millets and all major ways of processing with consistent testing methodologies. Structured comprehensive information will be highly valuable globally, taking the scientific knowledge in this area to the highest level. “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 ICRISAT that will be progressively released in 2021. Included are systematic reviews with metaanalyses of the impacts of millets on: diabetes, anemia and iron requirements, cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases and calcium deficiencies as well as a review on zinc levels. As part of this, ICRISAT and the Institute for Food Nutrition and Health at the University of Reading have formed a strategic partnership to research and promote the Smart Food vision of making our diets healthier, more sustainable on the environment and good for those who produce it,” explained Ms. Joanna Kane-Potaka, a co-author from ICRISAT and Executive Director of the Smart Food initiative.

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Posted on

August 4, 2021

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