Antidiabetic potential of commonly consumed legumes: a review

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(5):655-72. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.604141.


Over the last few decades, lifestyle changes have resulted in a drastic increase in the incidence of diabetes all over the world, especially in the developing countries. Oral hypoglycemic agents and insulin form the mainstay in controlling diabetes, but they have prominent side effects and fail to significantly alter the course of diabetic complications. Appropriate diet and exercise programs that form a part of lifestyle modifications have proven to be greatly effective in the management of this disease. Dietary therapy is showing a bright future in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Legumes, owing to their high nutritive value, are increasingly being used in dietetic formulations in the treatment and prevention of diabetes on account of their antidiabetic potential. Given this background, this paper reviews the glucose- and lipid-lowering action possessed by various commonly consumed legumes through several animal and human studies. It is concluded that the various legumes not only have varying degrees of antidiabetic potential but are also beneficial in decreasing the risk factors for cardiovascular and renal disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fabaceae / chemistry*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Life Style
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin