INDIA : As World Diabetes Day rolls around on November 14th, 2023, global attention is drawn to the escalating epidemic of diabetes. India, in particular, finds itself at the epicenter of this crisis, bearing the moniker of the ‘Diabetes Capital‘ of the world. This year’s World Diabetes Day emphasizes the significance of understanding one’s risk for Type 2 diabetes, aiming to prevent or delay the onset of the condition. In that regard, regular consumption of almonds is found to reverse prediabetes.
Recent studies 3-4 highlight that consuming 20g of almonds 30 minutes before meals can improve blood sugar levels in some individuals. It was also found that 23.3% (7 out of 30) of prediabetes patients returned to normal blood sugar levels after consuming almonds (20g) before meals. While another study 5 reveals that consuming almond daily for 12 weeks reduced insulin resistance, fasting glucose, and improved pancreatic function. Additionally, daily almond intake resulted in significant weight loss, a decrease in BMI (body mass index), waist circumference, and a reduction in total cholesterol. These nuts have a low glycemic index and contain nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, good fats, vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. As a result, they’re an ideal snack for individuals with prediabetes. Truly, the goodness and health benefits of almonds cannot be undermined.
A recent study 2 conducted by Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and Indian Council of Medical Research estimates that more than a million of the nation’s population are battling diabetes. The study also estimates that 136 million of India’s citizens might be on the cusp of developing diabetes, a condition termed as pre-diabetes. The greater concern however is that nearly half remain undiagnosed.
Leading Bollywood actress and celebrity, Soha Ali Khan mentioned, “Amidst the fast-paced world we live in, diabetes has silently crept into many lives, largely due to our sedentary habits and less-than-ideal dietary choices. As we approach World Diabetes Day, I strongly advocate for everyone not only to keep an eye on their blood sugar levels but to also evaluate their daily habits and make changes where necessary. It is important to opt for portion-controlled, nutritious meals over indulgent, high-fat ones. Choose an active life over a sedentary one. Sometimes, it’s as simple as opting for a handful of almonds instead of reaching for a pack of crisps. Almonds pack in so many nutrients – from protein to vitamin E to magnesium. It’s these little, consistent choices that carve out the path to long-term health. So, let’s pledge to be more intentional about our health and remember that every small step can lead to a healthier lifestyle.”
Commenting about rising number of people with pre-diabetes condition in India, renowned fitness expert, Yasmin Karachiwala said, “Prediabetes often stems from inactive lifestyle and poor nutrition. However, reversing it is achievable with consistent, health-focused actions, complemented by medical advice. To maintain an active routine, it’s essential to find a workout you genuinely love, be it dancing, running, yoga, swimming, or aerobics. Coupled with activity, wise food choices play a pivotal role. Ditching unhealthy snacks for nutritious alternatives, like almonds, can be game-changing. These nuts are not just satisfying crunches pre or post workouts but also help in decreasing muscle damage when consumed consistently.”
Speaking about the dietary measures for diabetics and ways to control pre-diabetes, Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head – Dietetics, Max Healthcare, Delhi, said, “The shifting demographics of this ailment can be attributed to sedentary lifestyles, dietary choices, and stress. Addressing and reversing pre-diabetes is more crucial. For those dealing with Type 2 diabetes or aiming to prevent it, it’s pivotal to emphasize proteins, fiber, and complex carbs while minimizing refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and excessive calories. A diet rich in pulses, dals, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is recommended. Integrating foods with a low glycemic index, like almonds, in the diet can play a crucial role in controlling sugar spikes. Packed with beneficial fats, vitamin E, protein, and dietary fiber, almonds aren’t just nutritious but also satiating, curbing the urge for unhealthy snacking.”
Talking about rising prediabetes condition amongst adolescents, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Sheela Krishnaswamy, said, “The prevalence of prediabetes in India is on the rise. This is worrying because a high number of these people will move from having prediabetes to full-blown type 2 diabetes. This means we need to make better lifestyle choices to slow down or stop this problem. A simple and tasty change we can make is to include almonds as a part of healthy meals. For young people who might be at risk of getting diabetes, almonds can help manage sugar levels in the body. A new study shows that almonds can be a great snack to potentially prevent or slow down prediabetes in the young
Dr. Rohini Patil, an MBBS and Nutritionist commented, “India holds the title of the diabetes capital of the world.. The time has come to implement certain measures in order to manage it. A simple yet effective step in this direction is the daily intake of almonds. These nuts help to stabilize sugar levels, offering a preventive measure for those at risk of developing diabetes in the future.”