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Vol. 1 Issue 1 December 2010
Review Article
Indian diet: Implications in recent explosion in insulin resistance and metabolic syndromes in India
Santosh Kumar Maurya and Naresh Chandra Bal
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Review Article


GERF Bulletin of Biosciences

December 2010, 1(1): 25-36


Indian diet: Implications in recent explosion in insulin resistance

and metabolic syndromes in India


Santosh Kumar Maurya* and Naresh Chandra Bal


Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Ohio State University,

Columbus (OH), USA


*Corresponding author:




It has long been suggested that diet is crucial in the development of insulin resistance although conclusive human data is lacking. Indian population is in general considered to be prone to develop insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. The recent trend in dietary consumption pattern in most of the Indian populations, have several dietary imbalances including; low intake of MUFA, n-3 PUFA and fibre, and high intake of fats, saturated fats, carbohydrates and trans fatty acids (mostly related to the widespread use of Vanaspati, a hydrogenated oil). Some data indicate that these nutritional imbalances are associated with insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia and subclinical inflammation in Indian population. Specifically, in children and young individuals, a high intake of n-6 PUFA is correlated with fasting hyperinsulinaemia, and in adults, high-carbohydrate meal consumption was reported to cause hyperinsulinaemia, postprandial hyperglycaemia and hypertriacylglycerolaemia. Inadequate maternal nutrition during pregnancy that lead to low birth weight and childhood ‘catch-up’ obesity are also very common in India. Even in rural populations, who usually consume traditional frugal diets, there is increasing prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and the metabolic syndromes due to rapid pace of change in diets and lifestyle. Dietary supplementation with n-3 PUFA has been shown to improve lipid profile and may have beneficial effect on insulin resistance. Also, low glycaemic index foods and whole grain intake decrease insulin resistance. Among micronutrients, high magnesium and calcium intake have been reported to decrease insulin resistance. This provides a hope that, the grim situation of diet-induced metabolic syndromes can be controlled. Therefore, a nationwide community intervention programmes aimed at creating awareness about the consequences of unhealthy food choices and replacing them by healthy food choices are urgently needed in urban and rural populations in India.


© 2010 Maurya and Bal; licensee Green Earth Research Foundation. This article distributed under terms of Creative Commons Attribution License (

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