According to Diabetes SA, the International Diabetes Federation has disclosed that there are approximately 2.1 million people living with diabetes in SA. In a recent study, the national health laboratory service in SA quoted 4 million - of which 90% are type 2 Diabetics and 10% Type 1 Diabetics. Simply put Type 1 means you are insulin dependent (need injections) and Type 2 can still be controlled without insulin injections (through diet & medication).*
Unfortunately there is no pharmaceutical pill that one can take to cure obesity, but with the correct eating habits and knowledge people can change their lifestyles and eating habits so that they do not end up obese or a Type 2 diabetes statistic.
It is crucially important to maintain a healthy balanced diet, which is high in fibre, vegetables and fruit and low in sugar and fat. "Low kilojoule sweeteners, instead of sugar, offers people with obesity and diabetes greater variety and flexibility in reducing their total carbohydrate intake: satisfying their taste for sweets without affecting blood sugar. Overall this helps people comply with a healthy meal plan," says Registered Dietician Leigh-Ann Silber.
Carbohydrates and starches are often the biggest problem as they turn into sugar in the body. Silber comments, "The most important food group for energy production are carbohydrates which contain various sugars. Carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index or LOW-GI foods are the best to eat because they contain sugars which take longer for the body to digest, meaning that energy levels will steadily rise and fall preventing sugar crashes. These foods include whole grain and nutty breads, brown rice, deciduous fruits (apples, pears, peaches) and leafy green vegetables."
"Foods containing simple sugars such as refined foods, soft drinks, fruit juices etc., are easy for the body to digest and enter your bloodstream quickly, creating a sharp energy spike and a sudden crash causing imbalances in blood sugar levels."
"Replacing sugar with a sweetener is a great way to enjoy sweet foods and keep sugar levels stable which is perfect to use as part of a weight-loss plan."
Knowing what your blood sugar/glucose levels are can be the first step in taking steps to prevent type 2 diabetes or address it as soon as possible.
One company helping to educate South Africans about the health risks of diabetes is the sweetener brand Equal who has partnered with Diabetes SA to educate consumers in the Soweto area. "Together we will administer blood glucose tests at selected mall activations, empowering our market with facts about this life changing condition and information on how it can be effectively managed with sweeteners," says Jason Frichol, marketing head at the Fore Good Group, brand custodians for Equal in South Africa.
Equal is an artificial sweetener that offers all the sweetness of sugar without the kilojoules. One sachet is equivalent to two teaspoons of sugar and is available in tablets to sweeten tea, coffee and other beverages and sachet sticks ideal for sprinkling over fruit, desserts, cereal and other favourite foods.
Paired with a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle, consumers can enjoy the sweet life with their family without the consequences.
* Type 1 Diabetes is a disorder where the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is an important hormone that aids in moving sugar from the blood to the cells. Various factors may contribute to Type 1 Diabetes, including genetics and exposure to certain viruses. Individuals that have Type 1 Diabetes are required to take insulin injections to move sugar from the bloodstream.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when insulin that the body produces is less efficient at moving sugar out of the bloodstream. Some sugar is moved out of the blood, just not as effectively compared to a person with normal insulin efficiency. Type 2 Diabetes can be curbed with a good diet and medication (not insulin injection).
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