Welcome to M.V Hospital for Diabetes, established by late Prof. M.Viswanathan, Doyen of Diabetology in India in 1954 as a general hospital. In 1971 it became a hospital exclusively for Diabetes care. It has, at present,100 beds for the treatment of diabetes and its complications.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Millets for People with Diabetes

Dr. Vimala Sanjeevi & Ms. Rohini U.
Dept. of Nutrition.

Millets are a group of small-seeded grasses which can grow in dry lands and land with poor soil quality and requires much less water that rice and wheat. They are a major crop in the semi – arid tropics of Asia and Africa. They are a rich source of Vitamin B especially niacin, B6, folic acid, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

Millets include jowar (great millet), ragi (finger millet), korra (foxtail millet), arke (kodo millet) and sama (little millet). All these are available in the form of rice (example: foxtail millet rice), rawa (example: jowar and bajra rawa) and flour. These may look coarse and unappealing when compared to mill polished white rice, but provide immense health benefits.

Millets are part of our forgotten tradition. People  forget that 50 years ago everyone was eating these grains. There are different millets, each with a unique flavour.

Millets are very nourishing

 In general,
  • Millets contain lignans that act against hormone - dependent cancers and also help reduce risk of heart disease. 
  • The high phosphorus content plays a vital role in maintaining the cell structure of the human body. 
  • Lecithin is excellent for strengthening the nervous system. 
  • They are gluten free and so are appropriate for those with celiac disease or other forms of allergies or intolerance to wheat. 
  • Millet is alkaline and easily digested and has low glycemic index. 
  • Millet protects from constipation and has a probiotic effect. 
  • The high levels of tryptophan in millet produce serotonin which is calming. 
  • All millets show high antioxidant activity. 
  • The high protein content makes it a significant addition to a vegetarian diet.
For people with diabetes, millets contain insoluble fibre that reduces the secretion of bile acids, increases insulin activity and lowers triglycerides and prevents spikes in the level of blood glucose. They are a good substitute for rice. The magnesium acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes including those involved in the body’s use of glucose and secretion of insulin. The B vitamins help in processing carbohydrate from foods. The fat content is 75% heart healthy PUFA.

Consuming carbohydrates that have been processed or refined can cause extreme ups and downs in blood glucose levels, overwork the liver and pancreas and rob the body of existing vitamin and minerals such as calcium and magnesium from its stores in order to break down and digest food properly.

How to use millets

Include it gradually into your diet.
  • Mix it with rice or use it instead of rice and potatoes. 
  • Add millet flour to idli/dosa batter or chapatti dough. 
  • Make cookies, cakes, bread and laddus with whole wheat and jowar flour and jaggery. 
  • Use millet rawas and millet rice to make khichdi/upma with lentils and vegetables. 
  • Use sprouted millets in salads and soups. 
  • Add millet to your favourite chopped vegetables and make a stir fry. 
  • Make breakfast porridge with cooked millet and add your favourite nuts and fruits to it.
Regular consumption of millet is associated with reduced risk of T2DM.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Artificial Sweeteners: A Boon or Bane?

Dr. Patricia Trueman
Dept. of Diet &Nutrition

Today “size zero” is the fashion and in an effort to maintain and reduce weight the market is flooded with foods that contain sugar substitutes (artificial sweeteners). 

Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes are found in a variety of food and beverages marketed as "sugar-free" or "diet," including soft drinks, chewing gum, jellies, baked goods, candy, fruit juice, and ice cream and yogurt.

Just what are all these sweeteners? And what's their role in your diet?

Sugar substitutes are loosely considered any sweetener that you use instead of regular table sugar (sucrose).

Artificial sweeteners are just one type of sugar substitute. 

The following chart lists some popular sugar substitutes and how they're commonly categorized.


Possible Health Benefits of Artificial Sweeteners

  • One benefit of artificial sweeteners is that they don't contribute to tooth decay and cavities.
They may also help with the following:  


  • Weight control. One of the most appealing aspects of artificial sweeteners is that they are non-nutritive — they have virtually no calories. In contrast, each gram of regular table sugar contains 4 calories. A teaspoon of sugar is about 5 grams. For perspective, consider that one 200 ml can of a sweetened cola contains 8 teaspoons of added sugar, or about 160 calories. If you're trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain, products sweetened with artificial sweeteners rather than with higher calorie table sugar may be an attractive option.  

  • Diabetes. Artificial sweeteners may be a good alternative to sugar if you have diabetes. Unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners generally don't raise blood sugar levels because they are not carbohydrates.
The Health Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners

Here's a list of the top four artificial sweeteners, along with information about what's in them and the negative impact they can have on your health.

1. Aspartame

What's in it: Phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol.

Reported side effects: Headaches, fibromyalgia, anxiety, memory loss, arthritis, abdominal pain, nausea, depression, heart palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome, seizures, neurological disorders, vision problems, brain tumors and weight gain

Your body converts the amino acid phenylalanine to neurotransmitters that regulate your brain chemistry. These important neurotransmitters are:
  • L-dopa
  • norepinephrine
  • epinephrine 
The resulting increased levels of neurotransmitters can cause problems in the physiology of your brain -- problems which have been linked to a variety of psychiatric disorders. You can also be prone to anxiety attacks, depression, headaches, seizures, and tremors. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid directly impact brain and central nervous system functions; evidence shows they play a role in mood disorders, memory problems and other neurological illnesses.

The second largest component of aspartame is aspartic acid. Aspartic acid functions as a major excitatory neurotransmitter in your brain. People who suffer from depression or have brain atrophy have been found to have low levels of aspartic acid in their bodies. As you might expect, the chemical is found in abnormally high levels in people who suffer from seizures and strokes. In very high doses, aspartic acid can cause brain damage and cell death.

Methanol is converted into formaldehyde when metabolized.  Makers of aspartame say methanol and its by-products are quickly excreted.  But research has found measurable amounts of formaldehyde in the livers, kidneys and brains of test subjects after ingestion of aspartame.

At high temperatures, phenylalnine breaks down into diketopiperazine (DPK), a known carcinogen. Phenylalnine is especially dangerous for people with the hereditary disease, phenylketonuria.

2. Acesulfame-K

What's in it: Acesulfame-K is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.

Reported side effects: Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer.

Concerns: Of all artificial sweeteners, acesulfame-K has undergone the least scientific scrutiny. Early studies showed a potential link between the sweetener and development of multiple cancers in laboratory animals.

3. Sucralose

What's in it: Sucralose is a synthetic additive created by chlorinating sugar. Manufacturers say the chlorine in sucralose is no different from that in table salt. Fact: the chemical structure of the chlorine in sucralose is almost the same as that in the now-banned pesticide DDT.

Reported side effects: Head and muscle aches, stomach cramps and diarrhea, bladder issues, skin irritation, dizziness and inflammation

Concerns: Research has shown sucralose can cause shrinking of the thymus gland, an important immune system regulator, and liver and kidney dysfunction. A recent study by Duke University found sucralose reduces healthy intestinal bacteria, which are needed for proper digestion and can impact the effectiveness of prescription and other drugs.

According to the Sucralose Toxicity Information Center, the absorbed sucralose and its metabolites (chemically altered substances) concentrate in the liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract.

One study on sucralose showed an increase in glycosylated hemoglobin (meaning damage to the oxygen carrying part of a red blood cell). Research in animals has shown:
  1. Up to 40 percent shrinkage of the thymus gland. (Critical for the response to disease – the ‘heart’ of our immune system)
  2. Enlarged liver and kidneys
  3. Atrophy of lymph follicles
  4. Reduced growth rate
  5. Sucralose affects the glucose and insulin response to glucose ingestion, the mechanism responsible is not known.
 4. Saccharin

What's in it: Saccharin is a sulfa-based sweetener; its primary ingredient is benzoic sulfimide.

Reported side effects:
For those with sulfa allergies, saccharin may cause nausea, diarrhea, skin problems or other allergy-related symptoms.

Concerns: Early safety studies of saccharin showed the sweetener caused bladder cancer in rats. The FDA recently lifted the requirement that saccharin be labeled as a probable carcinogen on food packaging. The link between saccharin and bladder cancer has contributed to saccharin being the most investigated of all artificial sweeteners.


Each one of us should now decide: Are artificial sweeteners a boon or bane?
And should we include it in our diet? 


1. Medical Author  Melissa Conrad StopplerMD
    Medical Editor William C. Shiel Jr. MD FACP FACR Medicine Net on Health.com
2. Author: Betty Kovacs, MS, RD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FAC Medicine Net on Health.com
3. Dr. Mercola Artificial Sweeteners -- More Dangerous Than You Ever Imagined Mercola.com Take control of your Health

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