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Effects Of Commonly Consumed Traditional Foods For Diabetes On The Blood Glucose Level Of The Undergraduate Students Of Imo State University Owerri




The term traditional food includes all of the food species that are available to a particular culture from local natural resources and the accepted patterns of their usage within that culture. Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder that prevents the body to utilize glucose completely resulting to abnormally high levels of the sugar in the blood and urine. It partially requires low caloric diets. Unfortunately, Nigerian tradition menu is high in starchy foods. Many Nigerian diabetic individuals has been misled to consuming some traditional foods high in starch that are believed to have lower calorie than other for low blood glucose response. The study is focused on determining the effects of commonly consumed traditional foods for diabetics on the blood glucose level of the undergraduate students of Imo State University, Owerri as well as determining the extent of their effects on the post prandial blood glucose responses of undergraduate students.Thirty volunteered non-diabetic undergraduate students aged 20-27 years on which standard oral glucose tolerate test was performed were selected randomly after excluding those with family history of diabetes, as well as the smokers and alcoholic, they were asked to report by 8am at the study centre each day after overnight fasting (10-12hours) with certain precautions for a period of 4 days for the different prepared test meals namely; beans, unripe-plantain and water yam porridge with vegetable. (2ml each) of blood sample were collected from the prominent arm vains of each student and were put in to the specimen bottles for haemoglobin determination. A glucometer was used for measuring the blood sugar level using test strip. Also, the random sugar level was determined 2 hours later. The mean values of the post prandial blood glucose for each test meals for the randomly selected volunteered students were obtained. The measurement of glycosylated haemoglobin in the blood of the students was by the method of Rohnfing, (2002). The mean glycosylated haemoglobin of the students was 5.76%5.36 with fasting blood sugar of 71.85.28 mg/dl. The ratio of the protein and fat content of the serving portion containing 50g carbohydrate were highest in beans porridge with vegetable 19.13% and 13.11% but lower in the protein content of water yam 2.21% and fat content was 4.85% and the protein content of unripe-plantain porridge with vegetable was 10.00% and the fat content was 4.67%. The glycemic index of the commonly consumed traditionaldiabetic test meals was highest in water yam porridge with vegetable 93.80% 2.07 and glycemic load of 19.14%3.00 followed by beans porridge with vegetable 86.00%4.67and glycemic load of 12.99%3.11, while Unripe-plantain  had the lowest glycemic index of 85.90%1.53 and glycemic load of 11.30%3.84. The results of the study shows that,unripe-plantain porridge with vegetable had the  highest  fiber content of 2.04%  0.01, lowest post prandial glucose response and lowest glycemic index and glycemic load value among the three tested commonly consumed traditional foods for diabetes and should be preferred in the management of diabetes mellitus including individuals who may be suffering from obesity.The encouragement of unripe-plantain and beans porridge with vegetable to the menu of Nigeria diabetics will increase the variety of the foods available for the management of diabetes mellitus and reduce the complaints about monotony in diet which make’s dietary compliance by Nigerian diabetic difficult. Foods with low to medium glycemic indices are encourage for use in the management of type II diabetes mellitus.

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The term traditional food includes all of the food species that are available to a particular culture from local natural resources and the accepted patterns of their usage within that culture. This term also embraces an understanding of the socio-cultural meanings given to these foods, their acquisition, and their processing, the chemical composition of these foods, the way each food is used by age and gender groups within a selected culture, and the nutrition and health consequences of all of these factors for those who consume these foods (Kuhnlein and Chan, 2000).

“Decreased consumption of traditional foods, accompanied by a reduction in resource harvesting activities, is also believed to be contributing to health issues among our people, such as diabetes and obesity. Therefore, the inability to rely on traditional foods has broad implications for our people: our customary law, languages health and well being, and the very sense we hold of ourselves as distinct cultural groups are being affected” (AFN, 2005).

Although, there has been a general declining trend in the consumption of traditional foods, traditional foods continue to provide the important nutritional benefits to many first Nations communities. Traditional foods mainly consist of animal and plant species that were harvested from natural environment. They are foods like breadfruits, whole grains, water yam, sweet, brown rice, bread fruits, plantain and banana etc. these foods were acquired through traditional activities.

The decline in traditional foods usage has resulted in change in dietary patterns. In general, consumption of more store bought foods means an increase in energy intake, carbohydrate, fat and saturated fats, and a decrease in essential nutrients and minerals derived from traditional foods. This change will have major consequences on the health of the people and it can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and other chronic diseases. (Young, 2000).

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Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreases does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces (WHO, 2014) insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s system, especially the nerves and blood vessels (Daniel et al., 2011).

Type 1 diabetes mellitus (also known as insulin dependent or juvenile diabetes) is a form of diabetes mellitus that result from the autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing beta cells in the pancrease (Plotnick, 2008). The subsequent lack of insulin leads to increased blood and urine glucose. The classical symptoms are polyuria (Frequent Urination), polydipsia (increased thirst), polyhagia (increased hunger) and weight loss (Cookie et al., 2008).

Type 1 diabetes can lead to a number of complications both in the short term and in the long term. Furthermore, complication may arise due to the non-physiological manner in which insulin is replace (Plotnick, 2008), low blood sugar may lead to Scizres or episodes of unconsciousness and requires emergency treatment (Cookie, 2008). In the short term, untreated type 1 diabetes can lead to diabetic keto-acidiosis and in the long term to eye organ and other vascular damage (Plotnick, 2008).

Type II diabetes mellitus formerly known as non-insulin dependent result from the body’s inability to respond properly to the action of insulin produce by the pancreas.  So many factors may predispose one to diabetes mellitus and these factors may include acquired and environmental factors, changes in life style, metabolic and endocrine disturbance (Shubanghini, 2010).

Acquired and environmental factor may include infections, certain medication (drugs) and damaged beta cell function through other mechanisms such as toxic substances, inadequate protein intake, nitrosamines in food such as those found in smoked and cured mutton (Shubaghini, 2010).

Changes in lifestyle such as over consumption (Over-nutrition) which can lead to obesity are a major risk factor. The symptom of diabetes may be pronounced, subdued or even absent. In type I diabetes mellitus, the classic symptoms are excessive secretion of urine (polyuria) thirst (Polydipsia) weight loss and tiredness (WHO, 2013). The above symptom may be less marked in type II diabetes mellitus.

A person is said to be diabetic if he/she has a fasting blood sugar glucose level higher than 70-110mg/dl or a random blood sugar level higher than from 140-200mg/dl or if his/her glucose tolerance test result is higher than 170mg/dl (SHubanghini, 2010). When diagnosed and if not managed well diabetes mellitus poses so many other harmful health complication which may include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic foot disease (WHO, 2010). These complication can be treated with diet, drugs and physical activity (WHO, 2012).There is need to investigate the traditional foods that will help control diabetes mellitus to contribute in the reduction of the prevalence of diabetics.

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More than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries (Danaei et al., 2011; WHO, 2014).

In Nigeria, diabetes amount to 25% of the country’s annul death (WHO, 2010) and it is prevailing among people with lack of vegetable consumption, intake of sugar, salts, alcohol and tobacco (WHO, 2011).Diabetes mellitus poses so many other harmful health complications which include cardiovascular disease, nerve damage (neuropneuropathy),kidney damage (nephropathy),eye damage, foot damage, skin conditions, hearing impairment, Alzheimer’s disease (WHO, 2012; Ripsin, 2009; Papadakis et al., 2014). Due to low socio-economic factor people in the rural setting find it difficult to attain to medical/hospital care where insulin and other diabetes intervention will be administered (Mathers et al., 2005). This can lead to major consequence on the health of the people.


1.3.1 General objective of the study:

The general objective of the study is to determine the effect of commonly consumed traditional foods for diabetes on the blood glucose level of the undergraduate students.

1.3.2    Specific objectives of the study

            The specific objectives of the study are to:

  1. Determine the blood glucose level of the undergraduate student before the food tests.
  2. Assess the glycelated Hemoglobin level of the undergraduate students
  3. Determine the random blood sugar of the undergraduate students.
  4. Determine the effect of beans, unripe-plantain and water yam porridge with vegetable on the blood glucose level of the undergraduate students.

  1. This research will provide evidence that will help nutritionist, students, health workers and food industries in promoting nutrition education and the importance of traditional foods on diabetes health status especially victims of diabetes.
  2. The study will also generate information which could be useful to government in planning and making adequate nutrition related policies. The study will also help in modification of diet for diabetics patient, individual.
  3. The finding of this research work will promote the idea of the nutritional content or values of these traditional foods and their importance to human health. It will indeed create awareness to promote the utilization of these traditional foods which are vital for health promotion, disease prevention and disease management.

Pages:  89

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF

Chapters: 1-5

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References

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