Reverse Gear – The Science of Reversing Diabetes

“Is Green Jackfruit the Reverse Gear of Diabetes?” was the opening line of my talk, at Jackfruit Promotion Council’s first roundtable in September 2015, on the medicinal benefits of jackfruits. Present at the event, were some of the leading doctors from Medical Colleges, Ayurveda Hospitals and top officials from Health and Ayush ministry in Kerala. I very well knew that Diabetes was considered to be an irreversible and progressive disease; but I still used the provocative line, just to highlight the lack of scientific evidence for the advice given by health professionals, against the use of our ancient green jackfruit meal by diabetic patients in Kerala. The roundtable later concluded that if there was any scientific evidence, it was in favor of using the green jackfruit meal on diabetic patients. Little did I know that within a span of just two years, the science would prove me right!

September 2015, first sign of reversing diabetes: The speaker right after my talk at the roundtable, was a professor from the best Medical College in Kerala. His opening line was “There is something true in what James said about green jackfruit, which is not true for ripe jackfruit or the tender jackfruit”. After reading reports on my discovery of the hypoglycemic incident with father Thomas, he conducted a pilot study on 36 diabetic patients, by replacing rice with 100gm green jackfruit meal, for lunch. The results after three months were jaw dropping to all of us in the room. 80 percent of the group on green jackfruit meal diet, had to reduce their diabetic medication and more than 60 percent had hbA1c reduction. Later, I went back to his office to learn more and saw a case, where one patient under study, continued with the jackfruit diet, as he liked eating green jackfruit meal. The patient apparently had become diabetic due to over consumption of subsidized rice idlis from the government owned `Amma Canteen´. Before the study, the patient was taking more than 60 units of Insulin while post the Jackfruit meal diet, his HbA1c, FBS and PPBS were found to be below diabetic levels. Besides, the patient did not have to take any medicine in previous three months. Technically he had gone from diabetic to non-diabetic. This was the first time I felt I should research further on the science of reversing diabetes and the role, green jackfruit could play.

October 2015, came across first study on reversing diabetes through very low calorie diet: I started researching medical journals and came across the Banting Memorial Lecture by Professor Roy Taylor of Newcastle University UK. Sir Banting is a Nobel Prize winner for discovering the use of Insulin from animal pancreas for diabetic patients and his birthday is celebrated as the World Diabetes Day. The hypothesis Professor Taylor has proved through his study, was contrary to what medical science believed for close to hundred years. Beta cells in pancreas do not get killed when one becomes diabetic rather it was only being suppressed or put to sleep by the fat accumulated in the pancreas through years of excess calorie intake by the patient. His study has proved that it is possible to reduce pancreatic fat, if the patient is put on a very low calorie diet and that, with just one gram of pancreatic fat reduction, the sleeping beta cells will wake up and start producing insulin again. Our research results had shown that green jackfruit had 40 percent lower calorie than rice or roti and offered much higher satiety or fullness, which potentially reduced further food intake in subsequent meals. This lead to many patients reporting rapid weight reduction while they brought their blood sugar under control, including father Thomas who lost 12 kilos in a year. However, the calorie of jackfruit meal with a protein curry was still higher than the very low calorie liquid diet that Prof Taylor was using for the study and the weight loss was slower and lesser.  I kept a close watch on Prof Taylor’s research while I was working on developing green jackfruit flour as suggested by Dr. Kalam.

October 2017, meeting with Prof Taylor: Though I was planning to travel to UK to meet Professor Taylor, to find out if it is a must to have the expensive very low calorie diet (VLCD) or if it was ok to use a low calorie diet (LCD) for a longer period of time. He came to Kerala in October 2017 to speak at the Endocrine Society of India’s Annual conference held in Kovalam. I attended the conference only to meet Professor Taylor and to my luck he came and sat next to me before his talk. We had a lengthy chat before his talk on the principles of reversing diabetes and during his talk I got to ask my question to which he replied “Absolutely, you don’t need to use VLCD, LCD can also reverse diabetes with a longer time, the principle is lower the calorie, the shorter the time it takes to reverse diabetes.” Then he made a profound statement on Diet vs Food, as profound as Dr. Kalam’s statement “It is harder to change eating habits than changing religion”. Professor Taylor added “A Diet is what you suffer alone, while Food is what you enjoy with family” and he said it is harder to put people on a diet for long hence he used VLCD.  Later on, when I explained to him about the traditional green jackfruit meal which is a cheap low calorie food than a diet and about our invention of making flour from green jackfruit which could replace rice or wheat in most traditional Indian food to reduce calories and increase satiety, he said the principles of his study would apply for low calorie food and would be far more practical in a country like India.

October 2017, first published study from India on Reversing Diabetes with Low Calorie Diet: Hearing my question posed to Prof Taylor, Dr. Anjali Bhatt from Chellaram Diabetes Institute, Pune reached out to me and said that they replicated Prof Taylor’s study with Low calorie diet of 300 calories per meal instead of VLCD of 200 calories and got the same results of reversing diabetes on Indian patients. The key difference between the two studies I found was the increase in Insulin production on Indian patients were seen at much lower weight loss than the British patients. Only plausible explanation to this is the already known genetic predisposition of Indians to trigger diabetes by much smaller weight gains compared to their western counter parts, hence the converse would also be true, i.e. reversal of diabetes could be achieved at much lesser weight loss than in UK.

Low Calorie Food options with Green Jackfruit:  A cup of fresh green jackfruit is approximately 100 calories and if you can have a protein rich curry like a paneer curry or fish curry within 200 calories, you can have the traditional green jackfruit meal with a curry of your choice for less than 300 calories. Or you can replace the green jackfruit meal with a traditional puttu, or two rotis with 30gm of Jackfruit365™ green jackfruit flour with minimum amount of wheat flour for the roti. Compared to the liquid diet used in both studies, two big advantages of traditional Indian food with green jackfruit are, one would feel much fuller and continue to enjoy authentic tasty meal with rest of the family.

CAUTION: This information should only be treated as a compilation of published scientific information and should not be treated as a medical advice. Low calorie diet should only be tried under the strict guidance of a medical practitioner.

Links to Published Studies referred above:

  1. Reversing Diabetes through Very Low Calorie Diet by Prof Roy Taylor: Primary care-led weight management for remission of type 2 diabetes (DiRECT). The Lancet, December 5, 2017
  2. Effect of Low Calorie Diet in reversing Type 2 Diabetes by Dr. Anjali Bhatt, Chellaram Diabetes Institute, Pune: Effect of a low-calorie diet on restoration of normoglycemia in obese subjects with type 2 diabetes – Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, September 2017
  3. Evidence of HbA1c reduction with green jackfruit meal , Saraswathy Hospital, Kerala: CONTROL OF BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVEL AND GLYCATED HAEMOGLOBIN (HbA1C) WITH DIETARY JACKFRUIT MEAL TAKEN BY TYPE II DIABETIC PATIENTS International Journal of Scientific Research, March 2017

News Articles in India on this Scientific Breakthrough:

  1. Open The Magazine: Diabetes A Bitter Truth
  2. Times of India: Lose Weight and Reverse Diabetes 
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