Claim: Drinking water in which okra has been soaked overnight will make "diabetes go away."
TRUE: Okra may have some beneficial effect in helping to regulate blood sugar levels.
FALSE: Okra can "cure diabetes" or eliminate the need for diabetics to take insulin.
Examples:[Collected via Facebook, January 2014]
Someone posted that soaking okra ends in water over night and drinking the water next day helps cure blood sugar levels in diabetics, is this true.
Origins: An item widely circulated via social media in January 2014 (shown above) advocated cutting the ends off a few okra slices, soaking the slices in water overnight, then drinking the water the following morning as a way of making "diabetes go away" and eliminating the need for
diabetics to take insulin shots.
There is a bit of truth to this claim in the sense that okra (also known as lady's finger, bendi, and gombo) does possess some anti-diabetic properties, namely that the viscosity of okra's carbohydrates helps to slow the uptake of sugar into the blood by reducing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, thereby reducing the glycemic load of glucose in the blood that can disrupt the body's ability to properly process the sugars (and that in some cases can lead to the onset of diabetes):
Soluble fiber, found in porridge oats, okra, strawberries and aubergines among other foods, forms a kind of gel inside the bowels. This slows down the absorption of food from the gut, evening out the peaks in blood glucose that occur after meals. Soluble fiber also draws in bile acids that contribute to raised cholesterol, allowing the body to pass the acids out of the system rather than reabsorbing them into the blood. Soluble fiber therefore offers the double potential benefits of lowering cholesterol and possibly reducing progression to diabetes.
What this means is that the consumption of okra can "help even out roller coaster blood sugar levels" and may contribute to preventing the onset of diabetes or ameleriorating symptoms in those who are already diabetic. But even claiming that much for okra is somewhat speculative, and it does not mean that regularly drinking okra water will "cure" diabetes or make diabetes "go away," nor that okra is a proven viable substitute for insulin injections. As noted in the 2012 textbook Bioactive Food as Dietary Interventions for Diabetes:
There is anecdotal evidence for the amelioration of diabetes by dietary consumption of okra but what are lacking are controlled clinical trials. There are constituents of okra such as polyphenolic molucules that provide encouragement for such studies in the future.
Claims of "miracle cures" always need to be taken with many grains of salt. If the way to make diabetes "go away" were truly as simple as drinking a glass of okra water every day, this would be a fact that doctors would advocate and every diabetic would know — it wouldn't be an obscure "Did you know?" type of trivia item promulgated via social media.
Last updated: 28 January 2016
Rubin, Alan L. Diabetes for Dummies.
John Wiley & Sons, 2011. ISBN 9-7804-7097-7309 (pp. 38-39).
Sifferlin, Alexandra. "Eat This Now: Okra."
Time. 22 July 2013.
Watson, Ronald Ross. Bioactive Food as Dietary Interventions for Diabetes.
Academic Press, 2012.   ISBN 0-123-97153-5 (p. 298).
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
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