Eating to Reduce the Risk of Diabetes
Figuring out what the right foods are to eat to prevent diabetes can be tough. Your diet can play a major role in preventing and managing diabetes, achieving long term weight loss and maintaining overall health and wellbeing. We truly are what we eat. The key factors for improving long-term health outcomes around diabetes are eating a healthy diet and weight loss to achieve a healthy body weight. Whether you are overweight, have pre-diabetes or type-2 diabetes and weight loss and improving your diet quality can play a major role in the management and prevention of the disease.
The obesity trend in Australia continues to grow. Over the last 20 years, BMI trends have had a notable shift upwards among Australian adults. Fewer adults are in the healthy weight range, and more in the obese range. Since 1995, the proportion of Australian adults with a BMI in the more severe obesity ranges has increased. This proportion almost doubled between 1995 and 2014-2015.
This leads to the question – what has influenced this dramatic increase? Changes in portion sizes, environment, work/school lives, technology and food advertising have all influenced the increase in obesity among Australians. This comes under the term ‘obesogenic environment’, which describes an environment that promotes over eating and obesity among individuals and populations. The high density of convenience food outlets, relatively cheap food prices and portion sizes of meals have all contributed to the increase.
In fact, there has been up to a 66% energy increase per typical portion size in common take away foods, such as; pastries, cakes, biscuits, ice-cream, soft drink and pre-packaged convivence foods. Over the years and with the world evolving rapidly, we are becoming increasingly reliant on convenience foods - more than 58% of Australians’ total food spending in 2014 was on take away and convenience food items.
Our cities continue to expand, with Australians having to travel further for work, increasing travel times in the car and subsequently decreasing time for active travel such as walking or bike riding. We are also now spending more time at work, resulting in less time for food preparation, recreation and physical activity. Poor diet and an increase in sedentary work can be linked to weight gain and the development of chronic conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnoea, and infertility.
With the increasing number of individuals that are overweight or obese, and the adoption of a Westernised diet and sedentary lifestyle, many people are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Interventions to treat and reduce the incidence of diabetes should be aimed at weight loss, healthier food choices and increasing physical activity levels; this is a major determinant of successful health improvements. Weight loss is largely determined by changes in diet. A diet rich in vegetables, fruit, dairy, healthy fats, wholegrain carbohydrates and protein foods should form the basis of our everyday eating. We should keep processed, discretionary, snack foods, sugary drinks, refined carbohydrate foods and sweet treats to a minimum.
Portion control is also critical in the management and prevention of Diabetes – when planning and preparing meals, portion size should be considered. Incorporating physical activity will also assist in lowering metabolic risk factors and improve general health and wellbeing. It has been proven that even a 20-30 Minute daily brisk walk can assist.
Adopting the CSIRO Low Carb Diet to aid in weight loss can be an effective strategy to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in those who are overweight or obese. It assists with weight loss, reducing your diabetes mediation requirements and to better stabilise your blood sugar levels throughout the day without having eliminate foods you may love.
With the state of the world and the current climate due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a better time to think about our health and work on prevention. We have control of what we eat, how we move and what we’re are able to do to improve our health with many resources out there pushing us to thrive! Once we learn how to use our food choices to heal, we enable ourselves to live happier, healthier lives.
- Brinkworth Grant, Taylor Pennie, 2017, The CSIRO LOW CARB DIET, New South Wales, Australia, Macmillian
- Brinkworth Grant, Taylor Pennie, 2018, The CSIRO LOW CARB EVERYDAY, New South Wales, Australia, Macmillian
- Brinkworth Grant, Taylor Pennie, 2019, The CSIRO LOW CARB DIET – QUICK and EASY, New South Wales, Australia, Macmillian
- Brinkworth Grant, Taylor Pennie, 2020, The CSIRO LOW CARB DIABETES DIET & LIFESTYLE SOLUTION, New South Wales, Australia, Macmillian