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Ragi offers healthy solution to diet of diabetics.

RAGI or finger millet could be the answer to the food woes of diabetics, new research suggests.

Multi- grain chapatis made with ragi and wheat in 30: 70 ratio could be a healthier option for diabetics, according to a study published in Current Science. The study was carried out by S. G. College of Agriculture and Research Station at Jagdalpur, Chattisgarh.

The researchers found that their subjects -- 13 diabetics -- who consumed multigrain chapatis over roughly one month could considerably reduce their blood sugar ( gluocose) levels. Two of them succeeded in reducing their medication.

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which a person has high blood sugar levels because the body fails to produce enough insulin or use it adequately.

Insulin is a hormone that helps body cells absorb glucose and turn it into energy.

Diabetes can lead to blood vessel, nervous and other complications.

Researchers said finger millet contained fibre, minerals and vitamins, which are normally deficient in the Indian diet. It also has eight times more calcium than other Somali pirates wheat and rice. The high calcium, high soluble fibre, low fat and low Glycemic Index ( GI) of the malted ( soaked, germinated grained) grains is effective in controlling the blood sugar levels.

GI measures how carbohydrates work on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that digest quickly, like polished white rice, and release sugar rapidly into the bloodstream have a high GI. On the other hand, carbohydrates that break down more slowly and release sugar more gradually into the bloodstream, like whole grains, have a low GI. " Basically the idea is that anything which is a whole grain has a lesser GI," said Dr Ganapathy Bantwal, head of the department of endocrinology at St John's Medical College, Bangalore. " Secondly, some products have a higher glycemic load." That means the actual percentage of a particular high GI item could be high in that. So if you mix three or four items with lower values, it could lessen the load even when there is a high GI ingredient.

Bantwal said the final impact depends on the overall composition of the food.

" Ragi is good as it has a low GI and it takes time to digest. Wheat is also good," he added.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Apr 8, 2010
Words:385
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