Food and Nutrition


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Diabetes and Pulses: A Current Review

One of the most important and effective ways to prevent and manage chronic disease is dietary change.

Because type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent world health problem, especially for its role in cardiovascular disease and death, there is an increased need for effective disease management. One of the most important and effective ways to prevent and manage chronic disease is dietary change. Research into plant food materials, especially those of cost-effective and highly nutritive pulse crops, is important to show how they can be used in creating better health. Pulse crops especially have many antidiabetic properties.

The chickpea features in a number of studies with animal models that show its hypoglycemic and subsequent action on cholesterol levels. Lentils have been researched using a few human studies where comparisons were made on blood glucose levels with a diet of lentils and canola oil against one of bread and cheese. Total cholesterol and fasting blood glucose were lower in the lentil protocol. Dry peas were also reviewed for their anticholesterolemic and antihyperglycemic actions in both human and animal studies, showing similar effects as the other pulses. Because type 2 diabetes is considered a lifestyle disease, improvement in dietary intake that includes pulses is important in reducing the enormous costs they inflict. “Dietary intervention with a diet rich in legumes seems to be a natural, cost-effective, and free from side effects solution for the prevention and treatment of [type 2 diabetes].”

Singhal P, Kaushik G, Mathur P. Antidiabetic potential of commonly consumed legumes: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2014;54(5):655-672.


Summarized by the NDSU Extension Service.

Development of many of the materials on this website was made possible, in part, with funding from the Northern Pulse Growers Association.

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