diabetes and diet

A strong sugary drinks tax in SA

We just got the following letter from HEALA and had to share it with you – Sweet Life has submitted comment, feel free to do the same!

 

 

Dear Friends,

ACT NOW TO TELL THE NATIONAL TREASURY AND PARLIAMENT TO PASS A STRONG SUGARY DRINKS TAX

BACKGROUND: WHY THIS MATTERS

In recognition of the negative health effects of sugary drinks, Minister of Finance Gordhan’s 2017 budget speech included a plan to tax sugary drinks—such as fizzy drinks and energy drinks—to help South Africans live longer and healthier lives. Tackling obesity-related diseases needs to be a national priority, and the proposed tax on sugary drinks is a first step in addressing this national epidemic. It’s important to raise as many voices as possible to strengthen and pass the tax.

Treasury and Parliament are acting NOW to further consider the proposed tax. The South African government has been under immense pressure from beverage companies and retail groups to weaken this important policy with exemptions, loopholes, and watered-down regulations—and they are having an impact! Even though there’s a proposed tax in the legislation, it’s critical to raise voices to encourage our leaders to strengthen and pass this life-saving measure!

That’s why Parliament and Treasury MUST hear from YOUR ORGANIZATION to make sure the final policy is strong and effective in reducing consumption of harmful sugary drinks among South Africans. They will accept comments on the proposal through 31 March.

Your organization has a unique voice and story to tell about why this policy is important to you. While it is critical to be active and engaged in speaking out on the necessity of a strong sugary drink tax, submitting public comments to Parliament and Treasury on the tax policy is especially impactful. Below are some key messages you can customize when submitting your comments, which are being accepted until Friday, 31 March 2017.

KEY MESSAGES: WHY WE NEED THE TAX

We support the National Treasury’s sugar drink tax and applaud them for their efforts to improve South Africans’ health; however, the tax can be strengthened to make it even more effective.

Sugary drinks are one of the most significant contributors to health problems such as diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, certain cancers, and dental caries in South Africa and globally. South Africans are among the top ten consumers of soft drinks in the world. In addition, South Africa is already ranked the most obese country in sub-Saharan Africa, and a recent study found that diabetes was the second leading cause of death among South Africans in 2015.

Sugary drink taxes work to reduce consumption, improve health, and save healthcare rands. Global experts—including the World Health Organization (WHO), World Cancer Research Fund, World Heart Federation, and International Diabetes Federation—recommend sugary drink taxes as a way to reduce sugar consumption. Evidence from Mexico and other jurisdictions that have passed taxes show declines in consumption that will work to decrease diabetes and other diseases without costing jobs.

The sugary beverage companies know that the tax will work to reduce consumption and make South Africans healthier. That is why they oppose it so vehemently. By passing a strong sugary drink tax, Treasury and Parliament can protect South Africa’s health and children rather than the special interests who target their unhealthy products to our most vulnerable consumers.

 

FOUR WAYS TO STRENGTHEN THE TAX

Tax all the sugar in all sugary drinks

The proposed tax design exempts a large portion of the sugar in sugary drinks—giving a “discount” on the first 4g of sugar per 100mL, no matter how unhealthy a beverage is. The discount reduces the health impact of the tax and is a giveaway to the beverage industry and manufacturers whose products have the highest and most harmful levels of sugars. There is no health justification for the exclusion, and no other country with a successful sugary drink tax has followed this structure. Treasury and Parliament need to remove the 4g discount and tax all the sugar in sugary drinks.

Increase the tax rate of concentrates

The current tax proposal includes a tax rate for concentrates (squashes or syrups) that is half the rate for ready-to-drink products. South Africans are drinking more and more concentrates than ever before; it is the fastest growing segment of the sugary drink market. Consumption in terms of kcal/capita increased from 16.5 percent in 2009 to 32.9 percent in 2016; by comparison, consumption of regular cola carbonates in 2016 was only 29.3 percent. To achieve its objective of improving health, the tax must encourage South Africans to consume beverages that are lower in sugar—instead of switching to cheap sugary concentrates. The tax rate for concentrates should be increased to align with the rate for ready-to-drink sugary beverages.

Tax all drinks with added sugar

The current proposal doesn’t include all sugary drinks. Fruit/vegetable juices and dairy-based drinks with added caloric sweeteners contain equal or higher levels of sugars, despite their illusion of health. Treasury needs to clarify their proposal so that all fruit and dairy-based drinks with added caloric sweeteners (whether using a fruit juice, concentrate-based sweetener, or any other caloric sweetener) are taxed.

Some revenue from the sugary drink tax should be used to promote health

While the sugary drink tax itself will be effective in improving health, it will be even more effective if some of the revenue is used to fund programs to promote healthy eating and improve health. It’s critical that the intent expressed in the budget speech to do this is carried out in practice. South Africans need to know that revenues will be used to benefit the health of the country. Revenue should be directed towards health promotion measures, such as increasing the number of community healthcare workers, funding nurses in schools, developing and implementing effective health and nutrition education campaigns, or improving water and sanitation infrastructure.

3 SIMPLE STEPS FOR SUBMITTING COMMENTS

  1. Introduce your comment by discussing why this is important to your organization; this is your chance to personalize your comments with your own experience
  2. Draft your comments on why the tax needs to be passed and strengthened, using some or all of the key messages in this document
  3. Email your comments by Friday, 31 March 2017 to: Ms Mmule Majola atmajola@treasury.gov.za and Ms Adele Collins at acollins@sars.gov.za

The South African government MUST put the health of South Africans before special interests who target vulnerable populations with their unhealthy products. Please make your voice heard today!

Best Wishes,

Tracey Malawana

Healthy Living Alliance

Diabetic Eye Problem

Hey,

I’m Nicolene from Bloemfontein, I’m almost 19.

I was at the doctor today for my eyes. I have bleeding in the back of my eye. Just want some advice how can I make this better?

The doctor said less sugar and sugar controlled. Just want to know who also has or had bleeding in the back of their eye on this page and what did they do to make it better etc.

Thank you,

– Nicolene

Tips for Weight Gain with Diabetes

Morning to you all,

I’m a Type 1 diabetic and have accepted this chronic condition well.

My only problem with it is a loss of weight. I never wanted to be slim ever in my life, but now there’s no way I can maintain my body to get it back to my normal weight.

Do you have any healthy weight gain tips?

Thanks,

– Thahtoow

Notes from a Type 1 Diabetic

Hi,

I am a Type 1 diabetic who for the first two years had perfect control. Then something happened… Life happened. I lost my control and actually started to feel like what’s the point? I gained ten kilos, my HbA1c is off the charts.

But I kept moving: running, yoga, spinning, aerobics, you name it. Eventually my lack of control or my inability to control my eating, my blood glucose and my life started to weigh down on me. I became depressed and burned out… And so I ate some more.

Over the past two months I have been on a journey into myself, I’ve read Deepak Chopra’s ‘Perfect Health’ and put my mind in a better place. I meditate daily and I believe that every moment, every challenge, every situation is as it should be. There is no reason why this shouldn’t be happening to me. This isn’t something that “happens” to people. I believe that I am my body and I am the energy I need to change things. I have started drinking water with two lady fingers and cinnamon every morning, eating according to some version of an Ayurvedic diet… And I am friends with my insulin pump.

The road is long but instead of asking why do I have to deal with this, rather I believe why shouldn’t I deal with it. I practice yoga and just last month I ran a total of 108kms. The path of least resistance is magical and as soon as we accept our circumstance, take ownership and responsibility, and instead of using our energy defensively by validating what people think of us, rather use that energy to liberate ourselves. We can create something beautiful.

My point – even though I really went off on a tangent there – is two lady fingers in half a glass of water, soak over night with some cinnamon. Drink it first thing in the morning. It is AMAZING!

– Maryam

Type 1 diabetes tips

claudine leeThis month, we welcome a new member to our Panel of Experts – Dr. Claudine Lee, a GP from Hilton in KZN. Find out more about her (as well as the rest of the experts) here.

Here are a few tips from Dr. Lee on how to manage diabetes well – and what advantages insulin pump therapy offers. Let us know if you have any questions for her!

Top tips for Type 1 diabetes good blood sugar control :

  1. Regular exercise – one sure way to keep things controlled (it must be a way of life).
  2. Correct food choices in terms of carbs, especially portion size and dosing correctly to “mop up” the carbs without any lows.
  3. Knowing if you are more sensitive to insulin in the morning or evening and adjusting your dose in connection with that.
  4. Knowing your numbers and testing, if you don’t know where your sugar is at you can’t respond to it.
  5. Being on the correct insulin to match your lifestyle/meals/exercise.

Advantages of insulin pump therapy:

  1. Getting rid of hypoglycemia (lows) especially bad lows.
  2. One prick every 3 days.
  3. Basal rate of insulin matched specifically to you, less insulin used (thus better weight control).
  4. Bolusing for meals is extremely simple and aided to control sugars exactly.
  5. Better control = better wellbeing generally.
  6. For the young: you can decide impromptu to stay over at a friend/function as all you have for the next 3 days for your diabetes is on your person.

 

When to check blood sugar?

Hello!

My granddaughter who has Type 1 diabetes is going with us for 2 weeks to Mauritius by boat.
I am very unsure how to keep her blood sugar between 4 and 10.
My question is: how long after meals should I check that her blood sugar is not above 10?
Any other tips?

Thank you!
– Hester

 

Low GI and protein dish?

Here at Sweet Life magazine, we’re always learning new things… As I’m sure you know, diabetes is a condition that has endless layers of information, and the more you know, the more you want to know!

Stuffed bolognaiseIn our November issue, we published this delicious recipe for Stuffed bolognaise veg and said it was low GI. Well, it turns out we were wrong! There wasn’t enough carbohydrate in the recipe to qualify as low GI.

Luckily, Pick n Pay’s dietician Teresa Harris spotted the error and then asked GI expert Gabi Steenkamp to explain it to us. Here’s what she had to say:

In order to make a low GI claim, these are the amounts that have to be present:
Carbohydrate: > 40% of total energy
Protein: <  42% of total energy
Fat: < 30% of total energy

For this recipe:
Per Serving
Carbohydrate = 11 g x 17 = 187kJ
28% of total Energy
Protein = 14g  x 17 = 238kJ
35.6 % of total Energy
Fat = 6 g x 38 = 228 kJ
34 % of total Energy
Energy = 667 kJ

We can see that the carbohydrate content is not high enough and the fat is too high.
Thus no low GI claim can be made as the biggest macronutrient is in fact protein, closely followed by fat.

Get more great health advice and tips from Pick n Pay’s Health Corner – a treasure trove of easy-to-understand articles about living a healthy life, with or without diabetes.

Pretoria Diabetes Congress

Do you live in Gauteng? Check out this helpful congress next month!

Diabetes congress

“We have an annual congress in October every year for people with diabetes and their families. We get 5 specialists in the field of diabetes that talk about eyes, feet, blood vessels, treatment and diet. The speakers include an eye specialist, specialist physician and diabetologist, podiatrist, vascular surgeon and dietician.

This is a community project and is done for free.
The event is called LWD Life With Diabetes – find out more at www.lifewithdiabetes.co.za

It is held at the CSIR (the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) in Meiring Naude Rd in Pretoria on the 26th of October from 7.30am to 1pm. There is no entrance fee, and a light finger lunch is served afterwards.”

– Dr. Louise Loots

Can’t get blood sugar down!

Hi!
I wonder if anyone can advise me. I’m 27 (soon to be 28) and was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic in 2010. When I lived in South Africa, my average blood glucose would read between 5-7 and I would have occasional episodes of hypoglycemia.

Since I moved to South Korea, I have had the opposite problem. My reading first thing in the morning before breakfast is 10-14! I eat special K cereal with skimmed milk diluted with water for breakfast, a garden salad with no dressing for lunch and an average meal for dinner (I try to keep it low fat as I had my gallbladder removed recently and low carb for my diabetes). Dinner is usually something like a salad, curry, pasta (about 100 g), etc. I take Metformin 500 twice a day (I’ve been on that dose since I was diagnosed) and exercise regularly but I can’t seem to drop my blood glucose to within healthy levels.

The climate in South Korea is very different to the climate in South Africa, with the winter temperatures dropping as low as -20’C. There was also a lot of snow and I was pretty much sick constantly from late November 2012 through to March this year.

At first I thought my machine was broken but when I got a new one, my readings are still high. I can’t really seek medical help because with my job, I can be deported if they find out I’m diabetic.

How can I get my blood sugar down?

– Kerissa