Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Could Sugarcane Prevent Diabetes?

 Credit: Frog 974/Adobe

Credit: Frog 974/Adobe

By Matthew Flavel & Barry Kitchen

When sugar is refined we are discarding antioxidants that not only temper metabolic diseases but can also restore insulin production.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

According to the World Health Organisation, rates of obesity across the globe have tripled since 1975. The increase in obesity has also produced a rise in associated disorders such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

While these are multifactorial diseases, no factor receives more attention than sugar intake. Refined sugar consumption also increased dramatically in this time, and governments are now scrambling to curb this consumption by introducing taxes.

Many consider sugarcane the root of all this evil, as it is the major source of sucrose in Australia and many countries around the world. However, some surprising research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition ( indicates that sugarcane may be the unlikely hero in the fight against obesity and diabetes.

Our study demonstrated three key findings about sugarcane and how it may be useful in preventing disease:

  • the sugarcane plant is a valuable source of antioxidants;
  • these antioxidant compounds can assist the healthy metabolism of various carbohydrates; and
  • the antioxidants are capable of restoring the insulin production of beta-cells.

These are significant findings for...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.