What if everyone in Australia were to visit a dietitian….?
It’s a frightening statistic that three in five people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. Managing the condition correctly will be of benefit and this includes a healthy diet and regular exercise.
If you’re wondering why it is that diabetes and cardiovascular disease are so closely linked, Diabetes Australia explains: “People with type 2 diabetes often have ‘abnormal’ levels of blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides). Not only are the blood fat levels different to those of a person without diabetes, the cholesterol also tends to ‘behave’ differently. This is a contributing factor in the up to six-fold increase in atherosclerosis that people with diabetes experience.”
If everybody in Australia were to have a visit with an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) or Accredited Nutritionist (AN) to have ‘healthy’ explained in a personalised format, it is possible that the rates of these conditions could be significantly reduced. This is because an APD/AN would help you to find the best way to avoid them by tailoring an approach that follows the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
In a nutshell, the guidelines recommend a wide variety of nutritious foods including plenty of a variety of coloured vegetables and legumes, whole fruits, mostly wholegrain cereal foods, lean protein sources, reduced fat dairy produce and choosing to drink plenty of water. They also talk about foods that should be limited including foods high in saturated fat (fats from animal origin plus coconut and palm oils), added salt, added sugars and alcohol.
However, these guidelines were developed for healthy people. People who already have diabetes or are in a high risk group for diabetes should also minimise highly-refined starches (for example white bread, crackers, savoury snacks) and eat fewer highly-refined starchy vegetables such as potato or corn chips, or crisps. These high-glycemic index carbohydrates are linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers, and sit alongside saturated fats (animal fats plus coconut and palm oils) and sodium as the main dietary contributors to cardiovascular disease.
Evidence is growing that people with diabetes should enjoy a diet based on nutrition-dense and low-glycemic index carbohydrates, lean proteins and should include mono- and poly-unsaturated fats (a Mediterranean-style diet) for improved diabetes control and minimised cardiovascular disease risk.
If you would like to learn more about how these ideas relate to your own circumstances, to understand portion sizes and to find ideas to make your diet more satisfying and rewarding, then arrange to see an APD/AN. You can find one near you through www.daa.asn.au
Diabetes Australia - Eating Well
Glycaemic Index - University of Sydney
Diabetes info for under 25s
A Shared Voice - Australian Diabetes Council
General Practice Solutions
Living with Diabetes and Coeliac DiseaseMore