Author(s): Akshay Rao, Divya Prabhu, Vishwanath Krishnamurthy, Anil Kumar Thimmaiah

BACKGROUND The prevalence of metabolic syndrome, which consists of a group of metabolic abnormalities associated with increased cardiovascular risk has been on the rise in India. Unbalanced dietary habits have contributed to this. The cereal millets have been thought to have beneficial properties in combating this illness. Hence, this study set out to compare the effect of millet versus non-millet-based diets on the parameters of metabolic syndrome. METHODS This was a cross sectional study where adults with metabolic syndrome, diagnosed in accordance with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria were enrolled. Anthropometric data and blood pressure measurements were recorded, followed by determination of fasting (FBS) and postprandial blood sugars (PPBS) and fasting lipid profile. All participants answered a questionnaire regarding their dietary patterns and accordingly were divided into the ‘millet based diet group’ and ‘non-milletbased diet group’. RESULTS Of the 142 participants in the study, the millet-based diet group consisted of 69 patients and non-millet-based diet group had 73 patients. The millet based diet group had significantly lower body mass index (26.78 vs. 28.99 Kg/m2, p = 0.08), systolic BP (130.8 vs. 137.8 mmHg, p= 0.023), FBS (113.2 vs. 152.2 mg/dl, p= 0.001), PPBS (122.7 vs. 214 mg/dl, p= 0.001), total serum cholesterol (170.1 vs. 211.2 mg/dl, p= 0.001), serum Low Density Lipoproteins (99.1 vs. 121.1 mg/dl, p= 0.001) and serum triglyceride levels (114.2 vs. 179.8 mg/dl, p= 0.001) and significantly higher HDL (40.7 vs. 36.6 mg/dl, p= 0.021) levels compared to the non-millet based diet group. CONCLUSIONS Findings in this study demonstrate the potential benefits of millet consumption and suggest that their incorporation into the diet may help to curb the ever-growing metabolic syndrome pandemic.

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