Diets for South Asians with diabetes: Recommendations, adherence, and outcomes

Shirin Kasturia, Mohammed K. Ali, K. M.Venkat Narayan, Nikhil Tandon, Roopa Shivashankar, Vandana Garg, Deksha Kapoor, Anitha Mohanasundaram, Deepa Mohan, Muhammad M. Kadir, Dorairaj Prabhakaran, Viswanathan Mohan, Lindsay M. Jaacks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objectives: To determine how frequently diabetic diets are recommended to individuals with diabetes in South Asia, whether they are followed, and if they are associated with healthier dietary choices and clinical benefits. Methods and Study Design: Data are from the Centre for cArdiometabolic Risk Reduction in South-Asia Cohort Study. Participants with self-reported physician-diagnosed diabetes (n=1849) were divided into four groups based on whether they reported being prescribed and/or were following a diabetic diet. Linear regression was used to estimate associations between these groups and outcomes. Results: 53% of participants with self-reported diabetes reported not being prescribed or following a diabetic diet. Among those prescribed and following a diet, mean whole grain consumption was 1.18 times/day and refined grain consumption was 0.75 times/day compared to 0.88 times/day and 1.74 times/day, respectively, among those neither prescribed nor following a diet (both p < 0.0001). Following a diet despite not being prescribed a diet was not associated with glycemic control, blood pressure, or body mass index, but was associated with a -8.54 mg/dL (95% confidence interval: -15.5, -1.58) lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol compared to not following and not being prescribed a diet after adjustment for confounders. Conclusion: Though participants who were prescribed diabetic diets and followed them exhibited healthier dietary choices, the majority of participants with diabetes in urban South Asia was neither prescribed nor followed such diets. Moreover, there was no statistically significant clinical benefit, thus indicating that current dietary modifications may not be large enough or consistent enough to produce meaningful changes in health outcomes in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-831
Number of pages9
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • India
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Pakistan
  • Secondary prevention
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus


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