Diabetes and sugar – the realities!

Most people are aware that there’s a relationship between sugar and diabetes

– that diabetics need to limit their caloric intake for better management. However, a comprehensive review has specifically singled-out sugar (especially fructose) added to foods (think: processed foods) as the culprit. Limit sugar to only 5-10% of your caloric intake to reduce diabetes risk as well as the associated morbidities such as kidney failure, blindness and painful neuropathy.

Watch out for added sugar in drinks

Soda pops and juices (usually with added sugars) are commonly known to be high sources of sugary calories. Some people think they are making a better choice with flavoured milk, milkshakes or smoothies. Wrong! The truth is, in spite of some potential nutritional value, the sugars in these drinks still contribute to diabetes. Rule of thumb: try not to drink your calories. Look to water or unsweetened tea or coffee instead.

A tax to promote health?

Due to the mounting evidence that sugar-sweetened beverages are contributing substantially to the diabetes epidemic, the Canadian Diabetes Association is calling for a special tax on these items and wants the funds raised to be used to promote the health of Canadians. Currently, more than one in four Canadians has diabetes or prediabetes – and that number is expected to grow to one in three by the year 2020.

Not all the info is on the label

Nutrition labels on foods are very helpful in assessing the nutritional quality of the food and in managing the intake of specific nutrients. However, current labels only provide information on total sugar content. Since added sugars are emerging as an especially important consideration in health (as opposed to naturally-occurring sugars), there is a call to start providing this information. A single 20-ounce soda contains 130% of the daily recommended intake! November is Diabetes Awareness Month and there is a lot you can do to reduce your risk of diabetes and better manage diabetes to prevent the gruesome consequences. Talk with your pharmacist or visit: www.diabetes.ca