Sweet potato for type 2 diabetes mellitus

04 April 2012

The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is among the more nutritious subtropical and tropical vegetables. It is also used in traditional medicine in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Researches into animal and human models suggest a possible role of sweet potato on glycemic control.

Three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included in our study, for a total of 140 participants. Studies have been made by the same author. Overall, the risk of bias in these trials was unclear or high. All RCTs compared the effect of sweet potato preparations with placebo on glycemic control in type 2 diabetics. There was a statistically significant improvement in glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in three to five months with 4 g / day of sweet potatoes compared to placebo. No serious adverse effects were reported.

However, the findings of the study indicate that there is insufficient evidence to recommend the sweet potato in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. For medical nutrition therapy, other observational studies and RCTs evaluating the effects of sweet potatoes are needed to guide recommendations for clinical practice.

Ooi CP, Loke SC.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Feb 15;2:CD009128.

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