Candied Apricots

'It is not a matter of what you can’t eat, it is more a question of eating well and exploring the tastes of whole grains, of fruits and vegetables and seasonal ingredients within a balanced diet.'

Patients are often concerned about what food they should eat and what they should avoid. Whilst no particular food is responsible for the current epidemic of Type 2 diabetes there are some foods that make the situation a whole lot worse. For example, an excess of refined sugar in any one serving such as occurs on drinking one can of popular fizzy drinks will cause problems. These drinks often contain 8-10 spoons of sugar in one can!

The global rise in Type 2 diabetes is more the result of food habits rather than one type of food. It is lifestyle that makes diabetes difficult to manage not one type of food. We park our cars underground, we take the lift instead of walking, we graze on fast food or on takeaways and we expect it 24 hours a day every day. This culture is one of the main culprits in the cause of diabetes worldwide. Our daily activity levels are often minimal and our food is often high in refined sugar and high in saturated fat. The conclusion is that this doesn’t do you much good.

Regarding the questions about which food type you must avoid, it is worthwhile emphasizing that no food type is bad per se. However we all recognize that a focus on food types is often an obligatory part of the initial consultation with patients. The focus really should be on quantity.

For example a few sweet dates like all fruit will contain healthy fiber and vitamins. These are components of food that all of us need. A wheelbarrow full of dates taken every day is a different proposition because of the quantity. A similar argument exists for grapes, for mangoes for bananas or whatever kind of food happens to be your favorite.

Having a sweet tooth is not necessarily a problem. The focus should be on food culture and on food quantity. Also too many of us are influenced and misinformed by advertising. Low sugar foods are often high in fat. Low fat foods may be high in sugar. This endless cycle of misleading food culture diverts attention away from the real causes of the diabetes epidemic.

Many of us are now far removed from making our food from scratch using fresh in season ingredients. Many people would be surprised by the immediate improvement in their diabetes control if they made good food a priority in their lives.

The real challenge is to encourage people to address this issue rather than judging the relative merits of one food or another.

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