Beware of pills and foods that promise to control diabetes, warn experts

In a city in which every tenth person has been found to be suffering from diabetes, it is natural for diabetics to turn to a variety of food products labeled "sugar free" to tickle their taste buds, besides various medicines and capsules which are easily available off the counters and promise to control diabetes.

But before you pop that pill and gobble that sugar-free gulab jamun, beware!

On World Diabetes Day, endocrinologists said that most of these products which are packaged and marketed well, do not help the patients and in some cases, can make matters worse for them.

According to figures revealed by PGI, the prevalence rate of diabetes in the city ranges between 10-12 per cent which is substantially higher than many of the other north Indian cities.

"There are many varieties of foods available for diabetic patients such as special flour, sweets etc. Also, there are many capsules. But so far, there is no scientific evidence which indicates that there is any therapeutic value of packaged foods or the medicines available off the counters. Instead, patients suffering from diabetes should use natural sweeteners to douse their sweet cravings rather than depending on packaged foods," said Dr Sanjay K Bhadada, associate professor, Department of Endocrinology, PGIMER.

"Every week, the Department of Endocrinology PGIMER, witnesses around 1000-1200 patients of diabetes mellitus. Out of these 10% are new patients. Diabetes patients have various complication like involvement of eyes, kidney and foot," said Dr Bhadada.

Adds Dr K P Singh, Endocrinologist, at Fortis Hospital, Mohali, "Rather than falling prey in the marketing traps of companies selling packaged foods for diabetes management, patients should follow the natural way. Many times, it has been seen that the glucose levels actually rise after consuming these products which are harmful for the patients. These have only been tested on animals so it cannot be said how effective these are".

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