You might be one of the 422 million adults in the world living with diabetes, but according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) people need to make healthier food choices and reduce their sugar intake if the numbers are to get under control.
The shocking new statistics on the worldwide diabetes epidemic, released to coincide with World Health Day, indicate that the number of adults living with diabetes today compared to 35 years ago has quadrupled.
That’s 8.5 per cent of the global adult population.
The big leap has been in the number of Type 2 diabetes cases diagnosed, and WHO says this is directly related to obesity and decreasing levels of physical activity.
Talking with the ABC’s Emma Alberici on Lateline, Dr Aseem Malhotra says there has been a misinformation on diet and health.
“With Type 2 diabetes, what’s interesting is this is independent of calories, so even if you are a normal weight, even if you exercise, if you consume too much sugar it’s going to increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes,” Dr Malhotra says.
Dr Malhotra is a British cardiologist and advisor of the United Kingdom’s national obesity forum. He was a member of the steering group that first recommended a tax on sugary drinks in the UK.
According to Diabetes New South Wales, Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults over the age of 45. But there are a range of things you can do to cut down your sugar intake and reduce the risk of developing Australia’s fastest-growing chronic disease.
If you think you are consuming more than six teaspoons of sugar a day consider how much processed food (like soft drinks, cereals, cakes etc.) is in your diet and start reducing that amount.
According to accredited and practising dietician Natasha Murray, know how much you eat and when is one of the first steps towards making a positive change.
She says you need to educate yourself about the amount of sugar in foods, and even get familiar with the different names sugar can be listed as, highlighting that anything ending is ‘ose’ is usually a sugar — glucose, sucrose, dextrose, maltose and fructose.
In addition to dietary changes, you also need to invest in exercise. Not only does regular exercise reduce stress (and stressed people are more likely to overeat), but it can reduce your risk of developing diabetes.