An investigation on glycemic index of local foods and use in management of diabetes mellitus : a study in Kisii and Homa- Bay district hospitals
Diabetes mellitus is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorder characterized by elevated blood glucose levels. Non-Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) occurs because insulin produced by beta cells of pancreas is either insufficient or not used properly by target tissues. Nutrition services have become quite vital in management of NIDDM. However, the choice of type and amount of food is always not an easy task. Glycemic index (GI) is widely used to select various foodstuffs for use by NIDDM diabetics, though; little has been done regarding Kenyan foods. This study investigated the suitability of locally available foodstuffs in the management of NIDDM by determining their GI. The study was carried out in Homa-Bay and Kisii District Hospitals in Nyanza Province-Kenya, on 116 NIDDM diabetics. A descriptive cross sectional study was used to collect data-on GI, demographic information, medical history, physical activity and meal planning. An interview schedule was used to collect verbal information while blood glucose levels were determined before and 2 hours after consuming a selected local foodstuff. The results were averaged and compared to test food (white bread) to determine their GI. Data collected were coded in Microsoft word and Microsoft excel computer software. Frequencies were done on the SPSS statistical computer software to determine percentages and GI of 10 selected foodstuffs using the formula (x/3.1 x100). The results of the study revealed that NIDDM diabetics have not exhaustively used locally available foods in the management of the disorder due to low education and income levels respectively. The GI of the tested foods point to the potentiality of their usefulness in management of NIDDM. Mixed meals yielded high GI compared to individual foods consumed singly. Application of GI policy in meal planning and management of NIDDM makes locally available foodstuffs appropriate in management of NIDDM. The patients were found not to have exhaustively utilized nutrition as a means of management of NIDDM but majorly relied on drugs. The study recommends use of locally available foods by NIDDM diabetics for both cost effectiveness and conveniences and GI of various foods to be considered in meal planning to enhance continued enjoyment of favorite foodstuffs before the onset of NIDDM. The study generally concludes that locally available foodstuffs are appropriate in the management of NIDDM.