World Diabetes Day: Knowledge will help better manage this condition
In recognition of World Diabetes Day this November, we present common myths surrounding diabetes and hope that this will help many more manage diabetes more effectively.
Prediabetes will lead to diabetes.
No! Prediabetes can be reversed if you make positive changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Prediabetes is a health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. According to an ADA expert panel, up to 70% of individuals with prediabetes will eventually develop diabetes.
There’s good news, however. Progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable. Eating healthy foods, making physical activity part of your daily routine and staying at a healthy weight can help bring your blood sugar levels back to normal.
People with diabetes should avoid carbs
No. Just because consuming certain carbohydrates lead to a rapid spike in blood glucose levels (high GI), it doesn’t mean that diabetics should avoid carbohydrates altogether. Carbohydrates are the body’s main fuel source and is an important nutrient in a healthy diet. Consuming quality carbohydrates that are high in fibre and are slow to elevate blood sugar (med-low GI), is key to managing diabetes. For instance, fiber is a carbohydrate that aids in digestion, helps you feel full, and keeps blood cholesterol levels in check. The key is to consume the recommended amount of carbs and pick healthier ones. While white rice is high GI (glycemic index)and contains very little fibre, there is now a way to enjoy healthier rice. Simply add Alchemy Fibre™️ For Rice to rice to cook and this will reduce the GI of white rice to the same range as brown rice, plus provide 10x more fibre than regular white rice. Other healthier carbs you can consider includes sweet potatoes and wholewheat pastas.
Diabetics can indiscriminately eat any food as long as they are labelled “diabetic-friendly”
No. There is no need to look out for pre-packaged food products that are labelled “diabetic-friendly” as they are usually expensive and are not always nutritionally balanced. For example, many “diabetic-friendly” snacks are high in fat and/or use artificial sweeteners, making them low in nutritional value. It is more important to be conscious of the nutritional content of the food that we consume to maintain a balanced diet. A healthy, nutritionally balanced meal for diabetics is no different from that of non-diabetics. Just like non-diabetics, excessive consumption of any food product will likely lead to weight gain which may exacerbate your disease condition.
Diabetes only affects people who are overweight or old.
No. Even though being older or overweight increases the risk of developing diabetes, it can affect a person of any weight and age. Many other risk factors are associated with diabetes including family history, lack of physical activity, ethnicity and a history of prediabetes or gestational diabetes. Thus, it is important to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Diabetics should not exercise.
No. An active lifestyle is key to proper management of diabetes. Physical exercise helps to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce risk of cardiovascular complications and maintain a healthy weight. Walking is probably one of the most prescribed activities for people with type 2 diabetes. Brisk walking done at a pace that raises the heart rate is considered a moderate-intensity exercise. Walking at a quicker pace 30 minutes per day five days per week will help you reach the recommended goal of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise. As always, diabetes should consult their physician on the amount and intensity of exercise that is suitable for them.