The 10 Small Changes You Can Make
TYPE 2 diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions in the UK and next week the Diabetes UK Healthy Lifestyle roadshow, delivered in partnership with Bupa, will be in Grays trying to find those people at high risk of the serious condition and people who already have it but don’t know it. A history of Type 2 diabetes in your family, your ethnicity and your age can all contribute to an increase in your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes but while you cannot change these risk factors you will still benefit from eating well and maintaining a healthy weight.
Obesity is by far the most significant risk factor, accounting for 80 per cent of overall risk of Type 2 diabetes. By losing weight – even just a little – we can dramatically reduce our risk of developing this potentially devastating condition. Amputation, blindness, kidney failure and cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, are just some of the serious complications that having
Type 2 diabetes can lead to if poorly managed or not diagnosed early enough. Ideally we should all be aiming for a diet that is low in fat, sugar and salt and included plenty of fruit and vegetables. Tracy Kelly, a clinical advisor from Diabetes UK, highlights the small changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle to help you lose weight and reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Nowadays we are used to a culture of jumbo-size portions but you can retrain your brain by eating off a smaller plate. A healthy serving of protein should not be larger than a palm size piece of meat. Carbohydrate servings such as pasta can be measured by fistfuls. A healthy serving of pasta should be one fistful.
Keep an eye on your waistline and your purse
Meat can often be full of saturated fat and too much of this fat can lead to increased amounts of cholesterol in the blood which can increase the risk of heart disease. Use lower fat meats such as chicken and turkey or fish. Alternatively, you can use pulses such as peas, beans or lentils to replace or supplement meat in traditional recipes. They can also be used in soups and salads and can work out to be cheaper than most cuts of meat.
Sugar and fat watch
Calories can sneak in when we least expect them so watch out for added sugar in food and drinks. Start reading your labels, compare products and go for the low or reduced sugar option or think about substituting alternatives. Nearly a quarter of added sugar in our diets comes from soft drinks, fruit juice and other non-alcoholic drinks. So why not investigate low calorie or sugar free alternatives. Your waistline and your teeth will thank you!
Say goodbye to too much frying
It’s also important to limit your fat intake. Think about whether you can grill, bake, poach, steam, microwave or boil foods instead of frying them. Don’t be tempted to buy so-called ‘diabetic foods’. These are often higher in fat and more expensive then the foods they are replacing.
Learn to switch
Switch double cream for light crème fraiche. It is heat stable, which means it won’t split, and ideal for use in savoury sauces. Fromage frais is fresh skimmed cow milk cheese, but tastes more like a natural yogurt. It is not heat stable so best used in desserts and dips in place of cream or Greek yogurt.
When nothing but cream will do, spoon extra thick single cream onto fruit or puddings instead of double cream. Whip up whipping cream rather than double cream for filling cream buns or cakes.
Try using stronger cheese for cooking. You’ll find that you won’t have to use so much to give it a cheesy flavour. Grated cheese tends to go further too.
Bake with a difference
Instead of using sugar, which is high in calories, some sweeteners can be used effectively in cooking and baking – simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. But think about the amount of fat involved as well.
Value special occasions
We all love a special occasion and there’s no problem at all in treating yourself. But it’s all too easy to make big treats an everyday occurrence. If you are watching your waistline then try to make sure you keep your special occasions just that.
Make lifestyle changes with others
If you need a helping hand with your diet or upping your physical activity why not think about joining a weight management group or seeing if friends would be interested in swapping the odd night out for a swim or a walk.
Make new habits
Anything that you do regularly is going to help you keep your weight down. Whether that’s being able to commit to walk all or part of the way to work or replacing high fat dairy products with low fat ones. It may be hard at first to cut out sugar from your tea or swap biscuits for fruit but the good news is it should become second nature very soon.
Diabetes UK Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow in partnership with Bupa, will be visiting Grays High Street on Thursday May 29 between 9.30am and 5pm to offer a quick and confidential assessment so that people can find out if they may have, or are at risk of developing, Type 2 diabetes.
To find out your risk of Type 2 diabetes go to diabetes.org.uk/risk