Nutrition and Well-being Articles

Our Nutrition and Well being section features a range of articles written by our company’s Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), providing you with the latest research and updates in diet and lifestyle.

by: Zehra Celepci published at: 17/02/2015 Print
The Silent Pandemic: Diabetes
Diabetes is a rapidly growing epidemic with currently 347 million people diagnosed globally (1). The World Health Organization predicts that deaths attributed to diabetes will double between 2005 and 2030 (2).
What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition in which there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Glucose comes from the food we eat (namely carbohydrate containing food) and is the main source of energy used by the body once it is broken down and in the blood stream. This process of converting carbohydrates to glucose requires an essential hormone called insulin.

The 2 main types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

  • In type 1 diabetes the pancreas stops making insulin (3).
  • In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes some insulin but it is not produced in the amount your body needs and it does not work effectively (4).

Diabetes Complications

The risk of diabetes related complications increases when a person’s blood glucose levels (BGL) are regularly high. Poor control of BGL for a prolonged period of time can result in serious complications affecting the heart, eyes, kidneys and so many other parts of the body. Regular checks and treatment are important.

What Kind of Complications?
Cardiovascular Disease

People with diabetes are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke due to raised blood glucose levels (BGLs), particularly when accompanied with high blood pressure and cholesterol5.

Did you know?

The World Health Organization states that 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke) (6).

Damage to the Eyes (retinopathy)

Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels of the retina, increasing the risk conditions such as blindness, cataracts and glaucoma (7).

Did you know? Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in Australians under the age of 60 (5).

Kidney Damage

Whilst it is the heart that pumps blood around the body, the kidneys clean the blood, removing waste which leaves the body as urine. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant (8).

Kidney damage can go unnoticed so it is important to get tested to pick up on problems at their early stages.

Did you know?

Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure. (9)


Prevention
  • At this stage, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented or cured (3).
  • Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by putting in to practice simple lifestyle changes (4).
How?
  • Achieve and maintain healthy body weight.
  • Be physically active – at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control.
  • Eat a healthy diet of 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables a day and reduce sugar and saturated fat intake.
  • Avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

A study which compared 2 groups of people at risk of diabetes found that the group which combined physical activity and dietary changes was 42% less likely to develop diabetes than those that didn’t make these lifestyle changes (11).


Managing Diabetes

Multiple studies have shown that among diabetic individuals, higher levels of activity and fitness are associated with a lower incidence of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease (12)(13).

If you are overweight or obese, here’s some good news! Several studies have shown that after major weight loss, more than two-thirds of people with type 2 diabetes no longer need treatment and return to having no clinical evidence of the disease (14)(15)

For good diabetes management, meals need to be (16)

  • Regular and spread evenly throughout the day
  • Lower in fat, particularly saturated fat
  • Based on high fibre, low glycemic index* carbohydrate foods such as wholegrain breads and cereals, beans, lentils, vegetables and fruits.

*Glycemic index (GI) is the rank of carbohydrates based on their effect on blood glucose levels. The lower the GI, the slower the rise in blood glucose levels will be when the food is consumed (17).

Wealthy Health’s ‘Maxi Blood Sugar Balance’ is specially formulated for maintaining healthy blood sugar balance. Each tablet contains a range of essential nutrients such as magnesium, manganese and chromium which individually play very important roles18-22 in the metabolism of carbohydrates, blood glucose control and insulin action, helping you feel as good as new!


  1. Danaei G, Finucane MM, Lu Y, Singh GM, Cowan MJ, Paciorek CJ et al. National, regional, and global trends in fasting plasma glucose and diabetes prevalence since 1980: systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 370 country-years and 2.7 million participants. Lancet, 2011, 378(9785):31–40.
  2. World Health Organization, Diabetes: Key Facts, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 2011.
  3. Diabetes Australia. (2008). Type 1 Diabetes. Available: http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/Understanding-Diabetes/What-is-Diabetes/Type-1-Diabetes/. Last accessed 19th Jan 2015.
  4. Diabetes Australia. (2008). Type 2 Diabetes. Available: http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/Understanding-Diabetes/What-is-Diabetes/Type-1-Diabetes/. Last accessed 19th Jan 2015.
  5. Australian Diabetes Council. (2014). Diabetes Complications. Available: http://www.australiandiabetescouncil.com/about-diabetes/diabetes-complications. Last accessed 19th Jan 2015.
  6. Morrish NJ, Wang SL, Stevens LK, Fuller JH, Keen H. Mortality and causes of death in the WHO Multinational Study of Vascular Disease in Diabetes. Diabetologia 2001, 44 Suppl 2:S14–S21.
  7. American Diabetes Association. (2013). Eye Complications. Available: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/eye-complications/. Last accessed 19th Jan 2015.
  8. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Diabetes: Complications . Available: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/basics/complications/con-20033091. Last accessed 19th Jan 2015.
  9. Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2011.
  10. World Health Organization (WHO). (2014). Diabetes: Fact Sheet No 312. Available: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/. Last accessed 19th Jan 2015.
  11. PanXR, Li GW, Hu YH, Wang JX, Yang WY, An ZX, Hu ZX, Lin J, Xiao JZ, Cao HB, Liu PA, Jiang XG, Jiang YY, Wang JP, Zheng H, Zhang H, Bennett PH, and Howard BV. Effects of diet and exercise in preventing NIDDM in people with impaired glucose tolerance. The Da Qing IGT and Diabetes Study. Diabetes Care20 : 537–544, 1997
  12. HuG, Eriksson J, Barengo NC, Lakka TA, Valle TT, Nissinen A, Jousilahti P, and Tuomilehto J. Occupational, commuting, and leisure-time physical activity in relation to total and cardiovascular mortality among Finnish subjects with type 2 diabetes. Circulation110 : 666–673, 2004
  13. ChurchTS, Cheng YJ, Earnest CP, Barlow CE, Gibbons LW, Priest EL, and Blair SN. Exercise capacity and body composition as predictors of mortality among men with diabetes. Diabetes Care27 : 83–88, 2004.
  14. Dixon JB, O’Brien P. Health outcomes of severely obese type 2 diabetic subjects 1 year after laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. Diabetes Care 2002; 25: 358-363
  15. Dixon JB, Dixon AF, O’Brien PE. Improvements in insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function (HOMA) with weight loss in the severely obese. Homeostatic model assessment. Diabet Med 2003; 20: 127-134.
  16. Diabetes Australia. (2014). Diabetes and Food: What Should I Eat?. Available: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/Living-with-Diabetes/Eating-Well/Food-What-Should-I-Eat/. Last accessed 19th Jan 2015.
  17. Diabetes Australia. (2010). Glycaemic Index. Available: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/Living-with-Diabetes/Eating-Well/Glycaemic-Index-GI/. Last accessed 19th Jan 2015.
  18. Institute of Medicine (IOM). Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.
  19. Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, Cragg GM, Levine M, Moss J, White JD, eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:527-137
  20. Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed. Baltimore, Mass: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012:159-175.
  21. M. Korc, “Manganese action on pancreatic protein synthesis in normal and diabetic rats.,” The American Journal of Physiology, vol. 245, no. 5, part 1, pp.G628–G634, 1983.
  22. W.Mertz, “Chromium in human nutrition: a review,” Journal of Nutrition, vol. 123, no. 4, pp. 626–633, 1993.

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