A nutritionist, Dr Ochuko Erikainure, says moderate consumption of unrefined foods such as local rice, wheat, fruits and vegetables could help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Erikainure told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Saturday that such foods, including lean meat fishes, were good for diabetes because they were high in nutrients and phytochemicals.
“Polished rice increases the risk owing to its high glycemic index. Unlike local rice, polished rice is deficient of micronutrients which are lost during processing.
“A lot of nutrients and phytochemicals with health benefits are often lost during processing and food preparation, so, caution should be taken when preparing foods.
“The lesser the heat, the higher the tendency of retaining these nutrients and phytochemicals in foods,” he said.
According to the international Diabetic Federation (IDF), two out of three people living with diabetes are undiagnosed, while three out of four deaths are diabetes related.
“Nigeria is ranked among the top five countries in sub-Saharan Africa in the number of people living with diabetes.
“Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease that affects carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism owing to lack of insulin secretion and inability of the cells to utilize the insulin being secreted.
”It is amongst the world’s fastest growing epidemic as over 425 million adults were estimated to be diabetic, which has been projected to rise to 629 million by 2045,” he said.
Erikainure said refined wheat products such as white bread, snacks and consumption of sodas have been shown to be highly glycemic which could increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
He said that the use of non-calorie natural sweeteners such as xylitol have been shown not to increase the blood glucose level, thus can serve as a replacement for table sugar.
“Palm wine (unfermented) has also been shown to suppress increased blood glucose level, which has been attributed to its high content of non-calorie sugars and phenolics.
“Majorly, regular exercise and reduced sedentary lifestyles should always be practiced which can help to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes in both children and adults.