Prevention from Diabetes

At present, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. However, there is a lot of evidence that lifestyle changes (achieving a healthy body weight and moderate physical activity) can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, is linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. Weight loss (7% body weight) improves insulin resistance and reduces hypertension. People who are overweight or obese should therefore be encouraged to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Physical activity is one of the main pillars in the prevention of diabetes. Increased physical activity is important in maintaining weight loss and is linked to reduced blood pressure, reduced resting heart rate, increased insulin sensitivity, improved body composition and psychological well-being.

A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for health. A healthy diet reduces risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Smoking: a well-established risk factor for many chronic diseases, including diabetes and its complications. As well as other harmful effects, smoking increases abdominal fat accumulation and insulin resistance. All smokers should be encouraged to quit smoking.

Stress and depression: There is evidence of a link between depression and both diabetes and cardiovascular disease, hence steps towards decreasing stress help prevent diabetes.

Sleeping patterns: Both short (<6h) and long (>9h) sleep durations may be associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Sleep deprivation may impair the balance of hormones regulating food intake and energy balance.

What can you do to reduce your intake of added sugars?

Eat fresh, healthy foods, fruits and vegetables, lean meat and wholegrain cereal, and cooking from scratch. Check sugar composition on product labels and aim for less than 15 g per 100 g, especially if you have diabetes. Reduce your calorie intake by 70 to 100 calories per day. That's merely one less cookie, or one less glass of wine and perhaps choosing less sugar laden foods. Doing so prevents risk of diseases such as: liver disease, heart disease, obesity, inflammation and diabetes.

It is not about cutting sugar completely from your diet, the aim is to inform the consumer about the nature of the concern, its long term effects and benefits of low sugar consumption.

Benefits of reducing sugar consumption

  • Cutting out or cutting back on sugar may help you to lose weight
  • Better oral health - naturally-occurring bacteria in your mouth thrives on sugar. So less sugar means less cavities and gum disease
  • Reducing sugar intake can lead to improved mental health and mood
  • Reduces your risk of diabetes and heart disease - Eating too much sugar can raise the level of triglycerides, or fats, in your blood. Higher triglyceride levels may boost your risk of heart disease.
  • Healthier glowing skin, and can help reduce acne
  • Lastly, it will help you break your addiction to the ‘sweet’ food