A number of natural products have been found to benefit diabetes patients and help them to control their blood glucose level. One such substance, that is being investigated is flour made from the passion fruit peel.
The benefit of passion fruit peel flour in diabetes patients may be due to the pectin component of the flour. Pectin is a soluble fiber that has been found to improve blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. It forms a gel-like substance in the stomach and gives an early feeling of fullness, and delays the absorption of carbohydrates. Besides, it also enhances excretion of cholesterol, thereby reducing its levels.
AdvertisementIn a paper recently published in the Nutrition Journal, researchers studied the ability of passion fruit peel flour in reducing insulin resistance. Diabetic patients are usually partly resistant to the actions of insulin, thereby requiring larger amounts of insulin level to control blood glucose level. Therefore, any medication that could reduce insulin resistance can help to control blood sugar in diabetes patients.
The study was conducted in 43 diabetes patients between the ages of 57 and 73 years. Some patients discontinued the study due to the strong aftertaste of the flour and abdominal discomfort caused by it. All except one patient who completed the study were taking oral diabetes medications.
The study was carried out in 3 stages. In the first stage, fasting blood glucose levels were recorded and summarized in the first three months of the study, when the patients were only on the prescribed medications. In the second stage, the necessary recordings were taken just before administration of passion fruit flour and 30 and 60 days following the introduction of the flour in the diet. In the third stage, blood glucose tests were again measured 3 months after the consumption of the flour.
The patients were given 30g plastic bags of flour weekly, which they consumed with other foods. They were also instructed to drink at least two liters of water per day to prevent constipation due to the pectin content of the flour.
The study used the HOMA (Homeostasis Model Assessment) model to assess insulin resistance.
The researchers found that body weight did not significantly alter in the patients following flour intake. This was possibly due to the short time period of the study.
Fasting blood glucose levels were above normal before as well as three months following intake of the flour despite the use of medications. This indicates the possible necessity of adding a dietary supplement to control blood glucose levels in these patients.
The study found a significant decrease in fasting plasma glucose levels 30 and 60 days following intake of passion fruit peel flour. The HbA1c values were reduced at 60 days of treatment.
The study also found an apparent decrease in insulin resistance following treatment with yellow passion fruit peel flour.
This study suggests that flour rich in pectin can have favorable effect in diabetes patients by reducing insulin resistance and could be used as an adjuvant to treatment. This could possibly reduce the chances of complications of diabetes. Larger studies are necessary to establish the use of yellow passion fruit peel flour in diabetes patients.
1. de Queiroz M et al. Effect of the yellow passion fruit peel flour (Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa deg.) in insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients
Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:89 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-89