Finger millet (Eleusine coracana) is extensively cultivated and consumed in India and Africa. The millet seed coat is a rich source of dietary fibre and phenolic compounds. The effect of feeding a diet containing 20 % finger millet seed coat matter (SCM) was examined in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Diabetic rats maintained on the millet SCM diet (diabetic experimental (DE) group) for 6 weeks exhibited a lesser degree of fasting hyperglycaemia and partial reversal of abnormalities in serum albumin, urea and creatinine compared with the diabetic control (DC) group. The DE group of rats excreted comparatively lesser amounts of glucose, protein, urea and creatinine and was accompanied by improved body weights compared with their corresponding controls. Hypercholesterolaemia and hypertriacylglycerolaemia associated with diabetes were also notably reversed in the DE group. Slit lamp examination of the eye lens revealed an immature subcapsular cataract with mild lenticular opacity in the DE group of rats compared to the mature cataract with significant lenticular opacity and corneal vascularisation in the DC group. Lower activity of lens aldose reductase, serum advanced glycation end products and blood glycosylated Hb levels were observed in the DE group. The millet SCM feeding showed pronounced ameliorating effects on kidney pathology as reflected by near normal glomerular and tubular structures and lower glomerular filtration rate compared with the shrunken glomerulus, tubular vacuolations in the DC group. Thus, the present animal study evidenced the hypoglycaemic, hypocholesterolaemic, nephroprotective and anti-cataractogenic properties of finger millet SCM, suggesting its utility as a functional ingredient in diets for diabetics.