JACKFRUIT: A GAME CHANGER
14 July 2021
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic metabolic disorder and if left untreated, leads to uncontrolled hyperglycemia. It is reported that nearly 100 million people in India would be affected by this disease by 2030. Antidiabetic medication along with Medical Nutrition Therapy(MNT) plays a synergistic role in the management of blood glucose level. A 2012 study done at Harvard found that people who ate three to four servings of rice a day were 1.5 times more likely to have diabetes than people who ate the least of rice. This link was stronger for people in Asian countries.
But since Indians love their carbs and don't feel "full" without a portion of roti or rice, many diabetes struggle to manage their disease. And in the on-going pandemic there is a marked risk presented by Covid to diabetics.
So, here comes the new weapon that has been discovered to fight the T2DM in the best possible way without the need of avoiding any carbs, "THE JACKFRUIT FLOUR". Artocarpus heterophyllus, commonly known as Jackfruit, belongs to the mulberry family (Moraceae). It is rich in dietary fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. The green or unripe jackfruit is used as a vegetable. The ripe fruit is very sweet and rich in sugars. Cartenoids, proanthocyanidin, flavonoids, volatile acids, sterols, and tannins are some of the phytochemical compounds present in jackfruit. The antidiabetic effect of jackfruit has been reported in several in vitro and in vivo studies, that could be due to high proanthocyanidin and flavonoids. The possibile mechanism of action is inhibition of lipid peroxide formation.
Jackfruit flour is made from mature green unripe jackfruit. The flour has sufficient binding and is most convenient way to control blood sugar through food without changing eating habits. It has a neutral taste and can be easy added to your favourite daily meal that is , idli, dosa,roti,aloo,paratha, etc to reduce carbohydrate and increase vegetable intake. One cup of jackfruit flour has 40% less carbohydrates and four times higher fibre than a cup of wheat/rice flour.
The researchers conducted a double blind randomised trial to test the effects of 30g Green Jackfruit Flour in participants with T2DM as an integral part of daily meal by observing change of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting blood sugar (FBS) and postprandial sugar (PPS) in blood from baseline. It has been published in the latest issue of the journal Diabetes of the American Diabetes Association. After getting clearance from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the trail was conducted and the test group included 40 people - 24 men and 16 women, with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Their mean age was 46.20±9.12 years.
During the study, participants were given green jackfruit flour meal. Their mean HbA1c at baseline was 7.23±0.47 per cent. At end of 12 week study, the mean HbA1c was 6.98±0.48 per cent. Pregnancy was an exclusion criteria.
Sixty-five-year-old retired bank officer Susan Eapen has been diabetic for 20years. But since 2018, she has been able to manage her diabetes without medicines and insulin by restricting her diet, and uses jackfruit flour. "On days that I don't take jackfruit flour my postprandial sugar measures around 200. But on days I take it it's 160 or below" said Eapen, who lives in Thiruvananthapuram.
Despite its benifits for diabetics,the use of jackfruit flour is still new in India and most people don't know about it. With this flour as option a diabetic patient can continue to consume wheat and rice without complicating their disease.