This is how you can beat diabetes

Diabetes prevention officer Karis Ramsay shows off the original Blacktown sugary foods display.

People were stopped in their tracks by the sugar cabinet of horrors at Blacktown Hospital recently for National Diabetes Week.

The cabinet, which showed exactly how much sugar is in popular snacks, sauces and drinks, played a starring role as Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD) aimed to raise awareness of type 2 diabetes.

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in western Sydney is growing rapidly, with nearly half the population either affected by or at risk of developing the condition. 

WSD director Professor Glen Maberly said the sugar display was a great conversation starter about how to make healthy lifestyle choices and beat diabetes. 

Dr Katharine Gupta, Prof Glen Maberly, Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, Sian Bramwell, Amber Evans and Abulla Agwa were there to greet patients and visitors checking out the display.

“We could see the light bulb switch on when people saw our display and realised how much sugar they were unwittingly consuming through sports drinks, sweet sauces and condiments,” Prof Maberly said.

“Sugar in our diets plays a big part in continuing the spread of diabetes.”

“The good news is it is possible to beat type 2 diabetes by choosing healthier food and drink options and being more active.”

The average one litre bottle of cordial concentrate contains 600g (48 tablespoons) of sugar.

Inspiring residents to get healthy, WSD also gave away Healthy Living Options booklets, which are full of free or inexpensive local exercise programs, health services and facilities.

Exercise helps reduce blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease, while also helping with weight loss and boosting energy levels.

“Combining healthy eating with being active and a modest weight loss of two-four kilograms and you have a real chance of beating the odds of developing type 2 diabetes,” Prof Maberly said.

Tips for a healthier you

  • Ditch that: A 600ml bottle of sports drink contains nearly nine teaspoons of sugar. Try this: Water, black tea or herbal teas have no sugar.
  • Ditch that: A 280ml bottle of sweet chili sauce contains 45 teaspoons of sugar. Try this: Use fresh herbs, garlic and ginger to flavour your meals instead.
  • Ditch that: A 100g muesli bar has 28g of sugar (seven teaspoons). Try this: A handful of raw almonds is higher in fibre and vitamins and keeps you fuller for longer.

Download your copy of the WSD Healthy Living Options booklet here.