A recent study published in ‘The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology’ found that India has more than 101 million people living with diabetes.

To help diabetic patients, researchers from IIT Guwahati — including Professor Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, Prathu Raja Parmar, Jiwajyoti Mahanta, Saurabh Dubey, and Tapas Kumar Mandal —  have developed a device to instantly detect the glycemic levels in food.

For diabetics, disease management is crucial, and one of the important aspects of that is knowing the glycemic index (GI) of what they are consuming.

The glycemic index is a rating system used to classify foods that are safe to eat from a blood sugar perspective. It is a measure of how quickly a food can make your blood sugar (glucose) rise.

With an increase in fast food consumption, which usually includes high-GI foods, the researchers wanted to create awareness of GI and work towards disease mitigation.

“Complications due to diabetes, like chronic kidney and liver diseases, really affect the quality of life. We want to show the correlation of junk food to GI to help the next generation become free of diabetes,” says Professor Dipankar.

High GI foods stimulate an increased demand for insulin, leading to a risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, while low GI foods help control blood sugar and prevent diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

The Point-Of-Care-Testing (POCT) prototype can detect the GI of common food sources in real time with the help of a high-performance nano bio-sensor.

All you need to do is dispense a drop of the food source on the sensor. You can classify the food even before you eat it by knowing whether it will spike your blood glucose or not.

The team has filed a patent for their real-time glycemic index sensor. The research findings have also been published in the Journal of Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering by the American Chemical Society.

The research, which took over five years, has been funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).