Science Speaks: Is Jackfruit Flour Good for Diabetes?
Jackfruit Flour for Diabetes
Jackfruit flour, manufactured from a tropical green fruit, recently gained popularity and took the media by storm claiming that it could help people fight diabetes.
But before you make your purchase of the jackfruit flour on Amazon or Big Basket, know the pros & cons and the science behind this food item from Fitterfly’s in-house expert — Ms Shilpa Joshi, Registered Dietitian & Head of Metabolic Nutrition with 20+ years of experience in diabetes management.
Additionally, Shilpa is also the National Vice President of the Indian Dietetic Association and Hon. Secretary of the All India Association for Advancing Research in Obesity.
This article will cover the nutritional value of jackfruit flour and explore what science has to say about its sugar-reducing effects.
How Does Jackfruit Flour Affect Blood Sugars?
Jackfruit (kathal) is native to South India, grown especially along the Western Ghats.
The green or unripe jackfruit is loaded with dietary fiber, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. Therefore, it is used as a vegetable in several recipes like kathal ki sabzi, jackfruit payasam, jackfruit gyros, kathal kabab, jackfruit pickle etc.
We’re sure the thought of jackfruit makes you think of sugar and how it would affect diabetes. However, Shilpa Joshi, Head of Metabolic Nutrition, Fitterfly dispels some myths.
Shilpa said, “Several marketing campaigns promote green jackfruit flour as a powerful food that helps control blood sugar levels. The drop in blood sugar levels is due to the low glycemic index of this fruit that allows the food to break down slowly in your body and prevents spikes in your blood sugars.
It is also rich in fiber and protein that helps prevent blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal. Additionally, the antidiabetic effect of this flour is due to the presence of various bioactive phytochemical compounds like carotenoids, flavonoids etc.”
Let’s see what medical research has to say about its efficacy in controlling diabetes.
Medical Research On Jackfruit Flour for Diabetes
The green, unripe jackfruit flour is making news for its sugar-reducing powers. To prove its efficacy, a study was conducted on 40 patients with diabetes.
These patients were randomly divided into two groups where some patients were given either jackfruit flour or placebo flour daily with their daily meals for 3 months.
At the end of the study, patients who consumed jackfruit flour had a 0.25% higher average reduction in HbA1c than those who consumed placebo flour.
In addition, even the fasting and post-prandial blood sugars showed improvement with a significant drop in its numbers in patients who consumed jackfruit flour.
As a Registered Dietitian and expert in diabetes management, Shilpa was sceptical about new nutrition trends like jackfruit flour because there are a limited number of studies proving its efficacy in people with diabetes. Additionally, these studies are done on a small population size.
She said, “A larger study with more study participants is required to confirm the efficacy of green jackfruit flour in lowering blood sugars in people with diabetes.
Additionally, in the above study the percentage fall in HbA1c (0.25%) was inconspicuous in the patients who consumed jackfruit flour for 3 months”.
Jackfruit flour is prepared from dehydrated, mature, unripe jackfruits. The below table summarises the nutritional value of green jackfruit flour and sliced fruit.
|Green Jackfruit- 1 cup sliced (165 g)
|Green Jackfruit flour – 1 tbsp (30 g)
Jackfruit Flour for Diabetes: Our Take
“Although several marketing companies and manufacturers vouch for the benefits of green jackfruit flour for controlling diabetes, it cannot be used as a substitute to a healthy lifestyle that includes a well-balanced diet with physical activity.
The antidiabetic effect of jackfruit has been reported in several animal and human studies, and it is beneficial for you as a good dietary fibre substitute if your diet is low in fiber.
However, you need to understand that it is not a miracle and it is just an add-on to your diabetes management plan”, Shilpa added.
Do not treat jackfruit flour as a panacea. Instead, you can use it as one of the many things to control diabetes. Medications and a healthy lifestyle form an integral part of your diabetes management repertoire.
So, don’t get swayed away with the trend.
To help you make informed decisions, Team Fitterfly has designed a Diabetes Management Program – Diabefly Pro. Diabefly Pro offers holistic care with its team of 3 coaches, including a Nutritionist & Diabetes Educator, a Certified Physiotherapist and a Clinical Psychologist.
India's top Diabetes nutritionists are here to help
1. Rao, A.G., Naik, K.S., Unnikrishnan, A.G. et al. Efficacy of green jackfruit flour as a medical nutrition therapy replacing rice or wheat in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutr. Diabetes 11, 18 (2021).