An edge in combating diabetes with pearl millet

Jason Kam, Susan Lister, Sandra Pierre, Rama Yadav, Rattan Yadav

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Diabetes is a highly problematic and increasingly prevalent disease world-wide, resulting in more than 1.5 million deaths every year. Management techniques for prevention of diabetes in high-risk individuals as well as affected individuals are mainly through changes in lifestyle and dietary regulation, such as increased consumption of foods with low glycaemic index (GI). However, information as well as availability of low GI foods, especially in developing countries where prevalence of diabetes is on increase, is lacking. The cereal crop pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) is one of the most abundant crops grown in countries such as India, providing a staple food for many poor communities. Compared to other cereal crops such as wheat, pearl millet is claimed to have high nutritional content (e.g. proteins, B-complex vitamins, zinc, magnesium and iron), is gluten free, and has a low GI, making it an outstanding candidate to selectively breed for lower GI for use in diabetes control diets. Using starch phenotypes (i.e. resistant starch {RS}, slowly digestible starch{SDS} and readily digestible starch {RDS}) as proxies for GI, the aim of this study was to assess the claim of pearl millet’s superiority in starch composition among other grains such as foxtail millet, finger millet, rice, barley and wheat. Nine randomly picked genotypes from the aforementioned crop species were analysed for their starch content and composition. In comparison to rice, barley and wheat, pearl millet grains had lower RDS and higher SDS content giving it an edge over these species in these characteristics. Such characteristics are important in controlling blood glucose spike, particularly in diabetics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 06 Sept 2016
Event6th Annual GARNet meeting (Genomic Arabidopsis Research Network) - John Innes Centre, Norwich, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Duration: 05 Sept 200506 Sept 2005


Conference6th Annual GARNet meeting (Genomic Arabidopsis Research Network)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Period05 Sept 200506 Sept 2005


  • Pearl millet
  • diabetes


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