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posted on 28.07.2021, 04:02 by Seetha Anitha, Joanna Kane-Potaka, Takuji W. Tsusaka, Rosemary Botha, Ananthan Rajendran, D. Ian Givens, Devraj J. Parasannanavar, Kowsalya Subramaniam, Kanaka Durga Veera Prasad, Mani Vetriventhan, Raj Kumar Bhandari

Millets (including sorghum) 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. This systematic review and meta-analyzes across the different types of millets and different forms of processing/cooking collated all evidences. Of the 65 studies that were collected globally, 39 studies with 111 observations were used to analyze GI outcomes and 56 studies were used to analyze fasting, post-prandial glucose level, insulin index and HbA1c outcomes in a meta-analysis. It is evident from the descriptive statistics that the mean GI of millets is 52.7 ± 10.3, which is about 36% lower than in typical staples of milled rice (71.7 ± 14.4) and refined wheat (74.2 ± 14.9). The descriptive, meta and regression analyses revealed that Job's tears, fonio, foxtail, barnyard, and teff were the millets with low mean GI (<55) that are more effective (35–79%) in reducing dietary GI than the control samples. Millets with intermediate GI (55–69) are pearl millet, finger millet, kodo millet, little millet, and sorghum which have a 13–35% lower GI than the control with high GI (>69). A meta-analysis also showed that all millets had significantly (p < 0.01) lower GI than white rice, refined wheat, standard glucose or white wheat bread except little millet which had inconsistent data. Long term millet consumption lowered fasting and post-prandial blood glucose levels significantly (p < 0.01) by 12 and 15%, respectively, in diabetic subjects. There was a significant reduction in HbA1c level (from 6.65 ± 0.4 to 5.67 ± 0.4%) among pre-diabetic individuals (p < 0.01) who consumed millets for a long period. Minimally processed millets were 30% more effective in lowering GI of a meal compared to milled rice and refined wheat. In conclusion, millets can be beneficial in managing and reducing the risk of developing diabetes and could therefore be used to design appropriate meals for diabetic and pre-diabetic subjects as well as for non-diabetic people for a preventive approach.

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