Sadza tied to increased diabetes risk

HARARE - People who eat too much of Zimbabwe’s staple sadza are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, according to the Zimbabwe Diabetic Association (ZDA).

Contrary to widely-held belief that diabetes plagues people who consume large amounts of sugar, people who take too much starchy foods have a higher risk of suffering from diabetes, which researchers called a modest increased risk.

Five percent of youths below 30 years of age have type 1 diabetes and should be on insulin medication for life, according to the ZDA president John Mangwiro. Most have type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body cannot make or process enough of the hormone insulin.

“Diabetes is not eating too much sugar, but too much sadza instead and milk which people consume in large quantities as they eat breakfast cereals,” he said.

“In the young ones, the diabetes is caused either by pancreatic damage from a virus or auto immunity which results in them not being able to produce insulin by themselves.”

Mangwiro said it is important to note that type 2 diabetes, which is lifestyle-oriented, was on the rise and comprises 95 percent of Zimbabwe’s diabetic population.

For people to be clear of the illness, they should avoid mimicking western lifestyles and food stuffs.

“People should go back to traditional food stuffs such as rapoko, sorghum and indigenous fruits like matohwe, maroro and mazhanje.

“In 2005, there was a national census of diabetes and it was found that five percent or 1,5 million people were diabetic. Internationally, it is recognised that in that population, half the people are not aware of their diabetic status,” he said.

Mangwiro said people need to know what to eat appropriately, when to eat, frequency, timing and how much to eat.

The doctor warned that diabetic patients were expensive to treat.

“In a study that we carried out at Harare Hospital, we found that a person who stays in hospital with diabetes complications will need no less than $1 400 for treatment, but if people are made aware of their unhealthy lifestyles, such statistics will go down,” he said.

Some medications such as anti-retroviral medication, anti-psychotic and corticosteroid drugs can lead to diabetes, he said.

The ZDA president said in terms of medication, insulin analogs that are available privately are very expensive and government was negotiating with manufacturers to bring down the cost.

Zimbabwe was yet to introduce the new version of tablets. However, the old drugs are still working and should be taken religiously.

“We now have advanced insulin which can be administered while a patient eats instead of the archaic way of injecting, then waiting for an hour for the medication to kick-in, and then eat. Those are very complex, especially for the young patients who find it hard to adhere to such strict regimens,” he said.

Comments (9)

Vanhu vemuzim nenhamo iriko paanooner chikafu hanzi ...ngachindiurye-over eating wozoona a wabatwa nesugar anzi mweya wakaipa...please teach this weakness or else a lot of people are going to dye early bez of ignorence

dofo - 23 November 2016

How is 1.5million 5% of our population. Because of that fact I doubt the rest of your story and facts, pamberi nesadza vakomana.

Engineer - 23 November 2016

ndokunyepa chaiko uku takakura tiinaro sadza iri in large quanties for that matter. Dambudziko ngere kuda kufadza donor chete.

nyanga - 24 November 2016

This doctor should be struck off the register before people die. He has no clue about what he is talking about. How many people were involved in the study, why all of a sudden sadza now causes diabetes, becoz you are now a doctor- you are a real joke doctor

lee moyo - 25 November 2016

Zvese zvinouraya... MaScientists have the problem of wanting to explain everything kani. Ngavachitaura what they want to substitute staple diet yacho tione!

steve - 25 November 2016

Because of changed life styles and eating habits diabetes has crept into the population silently. It has become necessary to have a second look at food items which were previously harmless because they were consumed alongside other healthy foods. The doctor is right about maize sadza. I was registering high readings of glucose readings until I switched to sorghum sadza. For as long as we stick to traditional foods, sadza excluded, we will be able to control diabetes.

i Sakala - 25 November 2016

Some comments here are very dangerous as they make fun out of a very serious issue. Diabetics and non diabetics alike should take seriously advise from the doctor. Once diabetic one can not reverse the condition

manuel gwande - 25 November 2016

sadza ngaridyiwe

ben - 26 November 2016

utter rubbish, how can 13 million people "go back" to eat maroro and mazhanje when those things are seasonal. Do you even know hoe difficult it is to harvest a mere ton of rapoko.

Drew - 26 November 2016

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