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A pan-India survey provides real world benefits of a high-fiber supplement for people with diabetes

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Bhubaneswar : ‘STAR’ (Survey for ManagemenT of DiAbetes with FibeR-rich Nutrition Drink), a pan-India survey conducted amongst 3,042 people with type 2 diabetes and 152 doctors, the results of which have been recently published in the Indian Journal of Clinical Practice, has shown how daily consumption of a fiber-rich dietary supplement can help control blood glucose levels. The survey categorized people with diabetes into two groups, one which consumed a specific high-fiber supplement for a minimum of three months and the other which had not consumed the supplement. It found that people with diabetes who consumed the high-fiber supplement over three months reported significantly lower HbA1C and higher weight loss and feelings of satiety than those who did not consume the supplement.

Multiple clinical studies all over the world have established the role of a high fiber diet in the management of diabetes. Organizations such as RSSDI and American Diabetes Association also recommend that people with diabetes should increase their fiber consumption. RSSDI recommends a fiber intake of 25-40 gm/ day for people with diabetes in India, but the actual intake varies from 15-40g/day across different socioeconomic groups.[i] This means not everyone with diabetes meets their daily requirement of fiber in India. The ‘STAR’ survey shows how it is possible to bridge this gap through a dietary supplement rich in fiber and help patients with diabetes manage their condition effectively.

Dr. Sanjay Kalra, President, South Asian Federation of Endocrine Societies (SAFES) and the lead author of the survey says, “Appropriate nutrition is an integral part of diabetes management. People with diabetes are required not only to reduce consumption of carbohydrates and sugars, but also to increase their fiber intake. Fiber in diet brings a feeling of fullness and prevents overeating. During digestion, fiber reduces the rate of absorption of sugar from our gut to the blood and helps in lowering the post-meal blood glucose level. Most of the time, people with diabetes do not get the required amount of fiber from their diet. This survey showed that a fiber rich nutritional supplement can complete their daily fiber intake.”

The survey has shown that management of diabetes goes beyond only adhering to medical therapy. Patients also need to modify their diet to manage their weight and bring their blood glucose under control.

“I see around 700 patients per month with diabetes and more than80% of patients struggle to maintain the right balance of nutrition. The most important part of diabetes management is to control the spikes in blood glucose levelthat can happen on a daily basis. Less than 5% patients recognize the role of dietary fiber in this. Increasing fiber intake in diet delays absorption of glucose from the intestines. This reduces post-meal glucose spikes, enhances satiety and boosts energy.High-fiber nutrition supplements can make a difference when diet alone falls short.” saysDr. Sambit Das, Professor, Department of Endocrinology, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneshwar 

STAR, which also surveyed 152 physicians, finds that doctors recommend a fiber-rich supplement to 50% patients with Type 2 diabetes, 40% patients with obesity and 35% patients who are overweight. According to the doctors surveyed, the main benefits of fiber consumption for people with diabetes are improvement in satiety level, increase in physical activity, reduction in HbA1C and glucose levels and reduction in dose and number of medicines to control blood glucose. Physicians also highlighted the need for greater awareness among both patients and doctors, of the role of dietary fiber in the management of Type 2 diabetes.


 


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