Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath has made a rather bizarre request to the farmers of his state, discouraging them from cultivating sugarcane. According to an ANI report, the CM addressed a gathering at Baghpat, a region known for extensive sugarcane cultivation. He said, “Excess production of sugarcane leads to excess consumption, which, in turn, causes sugar (diabetes).” At the event of a road inauguration, the CM appealed to the people to cultivate other crops and different types of vegetables instead.
CM Yogi Adityanath's statement tying sugarcane to diabetes inevitably invited chuckles. Many believe the Yogi may have gone on a limb, equating sugar with sugarcane. So we asked our experts whether there is any semblance of truth in the Yogi’s statement. 8 Simple Ways To Reduce Your Diabetes Risk.
Dr Pradip Shah, HOD, General Medicine Specialist at Fortis says that the Yogi may be right in theory, but to paint sugarcane as a villain that causes diabetes is quite inane. His view is seconded by dietician and nutrition consultant Ranjani Raman, founder, Nutrilife, who believes that no single food can technically cause diabetes. “Even sugar cannot cause diabetes,” she says.
For this, it is important to understand how diabetes works. There are two main types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2. In the former, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are attacked by the immune system, affecting the body’s ability to manage blood glucose. In type 2, people don’t make enough insulin due to a phenomenon called insulin resistance, which leads to excessive blood glucose in the body. 5 Food Items to Include in Your Diet to Lower Blood Sugar.
In both cases, those with diabetes have to watch their sugar intake to keep their blood sugar levels at a normal range. But in no case does sugar or any other food directly cause diabetes. To a certain extent, type 2 diabetes can be indirectly caused by sugar since it can contribute to obesity and increase diabetes risk.
But both the experts agree that uncontrolled consumption of any food, including sugarcane, can spike up the blood sugar levels. “Anything had in moderation won’t harm the body. But if your food habits are unchecked, it can increase your blood sugar levels. So even healthy foods if had in excess can have an adverse effect on your health,” says Dr Shah.
Ranjani says that sugarcane shouldn’t be vilified. In fact, it is rich in many nutrients such as vitamin A and vitamin B, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron that have a protective effect on people with diabetes.
“Aerated drinks and processed juices pose a bigger threat than sugarcane juice for diabetics. Sugarcane juice in moderation can provide health benefits than the packaged beverages,” says Ranjani.