Reactive oxygen species play a significant role in accelerating the complications of diabetes mellitus, and antioxidants alleviate these effects. Finger millet (FM; Eleusine coracana) and kodo millet (KM; Paspalum scrobiculatum) are rich sources of phenolics, tannins, and phytates, which can act as antioxidants. Hence, the beneficial role of a millet-based diet in protecting against oxidative stress and maintaining glucose levels in vivo in type II diabetes was investigated. Whole grain flour of finger millet and KM was incorporated at 55% by weight in the basal diet fed to alloxan-induced diabetic rats over a period of 28 days. Blood glucose, cholesterol, enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants, lipid peroxides in blood plasma, and glycation of tail tendon collagen were measured. The rats fed the KM-enriched diet showed a greater reduction in blood glucose (42%) and cholesterol (27%) than those fed the finger millet (36% and 13%). The levels of enzymatic (glutathione, vitamins E and C) and nonenzymatic antioxidants (superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase) and lipid peroxides were significantly reduced in diabetic animals and restored to normal levels in the millet-fed groups. Glycation of tail tendon collagen was only 40% in the finger millet-fed rats and 47% in the KM-fed rats compared to the controls. Diets containing whole grain millet meal flour can protect against hyperglycemic and alloxan-induced oxidative stress in Wistar rats. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.