diabetes south africa
Ask the dietician: Genevieve Jardine
From our community: “My average blood sugar over the past few months was higher than it should have been, so I’m trying really hard not to eat the wrong foods. Any tips for healthy snacks?” Lynnae Daniel
Getting creative with your snacks can really help make your daily meal plan more exciting. We all get into a rut with our meal choices, and adding different (healthy) snacks can improve variety, colour, flavour and even add valuable nutrients to your daily intake.
Not every person with diabetes needs to snack. Some people are happy with three square meals a day, while others prefer small snacks throughout the day. Your unique eating style largely depends on your own natural eating patterns, medication, blood sugar control, and how active you are.
Remember: If you go for more than 4 or 5 hours between meals you may need to snack in order to prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low. But snacking on the wrong kind of food can cause blood sugar levels to rise and also cause unwanted weight gain.
So what does a healthy snack look like?
- A snack should be between 300 to 600 kilojoules otherwise it is more like a meal.
- Snacking is a good chance to increase your vegetable or fruit intake (remember, the aim is 5 servings of vegetables a day).
- Plate your snack to help control portion size: don’t eat straight out of a bag, box or packet – or straight from the fridge!
- Portion your snacks into snack-size packets, or buy suitable snack portions.
Ask yourself: are you actually hungry? Don’t snack because you’re bored, stressed or worried.
Healthy snack ideas:
- One piece of fruit (carb 15g, fat 0g, 300kj)
- 100ml low-fat flavoured yogurt (carb 16g, fat 2g, 400kj)
- 2 cups popped popcorn sprinkled with fat-free parmesan cheese (carb 15g, fat 7g, 636kj)
- 30g lean biltong (carb 0.7 g, fat 2g, 346kj)
- 3 Provitas or 2 Ryvitas with cottage cheese, tomato and gherkin (carb 20g, fat 2g, 382kj)
- ½ an apple with 20g sliced low-fat cheese (carb 8g, fat 5g, 430kj)
- Raw veggies (carrot sticks, cucumber, baby tomatoes, gherkins, baby corn, snap peas) with cottage cheese, hummus or avocado dip (carb 8g, fat 7g, 540kj)
- 30g nuts/seeds (carb 3g, fat 14g, 735kj)
Tip: Nuts and seeds are high in fat and kilojoules. However, the type of fat is much healthier than that found in a chocolate bar.
Unhealthy snack choices:
- 50g bar of chocolate (carb 30g, fat 12g and 1120kj)
- 30g packet of potato crisps (carb 24g, fat 12g, 766kj)
- 300ml bottle of drinking yoghurt (carb 45g, fat 5.6g, 1140kj)
- 25g packet of sweets (carb 18g, fat 0g, 316kj)
Tip: It might seem like this snack is within the recommended carb, fat and kilojoule allowance, but they are empty kilojoules with no fibre and very little vitamins and minerals.
Snacking for exercise:
Remember that exercise can also cause low blood glucose. It is important to check blood glucose before and after you exercise. People react differently to exercise depending on the type, duration and intensity: some people see a rapid drop and others an increase in blood sugar levels, so it is important to test and see what your individual response is.
As always, you should see a dietician to help you plan suitable snacks for different situations. Fresh snack ideas can bring a sense of fun into your daily eating plan.
Ask the dietician: Genevieve Jardine
From the community: “I would like to understand the nutritional information printed on food labels – I’m new to it all and don’t know what I should and shouldn’t be looking for.” Lynnette Hitchcock.
Food labels are certainly not the simple list of ingredients they used to be – they’ve evolved into complicated beasts that don’t make sense to most people. So what information is actually useful? What makes you decide to put a product into your trolley?
Let’s take a look at an example: Jungle Energy Bar (Yoghurt)
At the top of the label is the nutritional breakdown for 100g/ml and the breakdown per serving size. Make sure that you read the label clearly and understand the difference – this example is clear because it gives the nutrients for 100g and for the 40g bar.
There should also be a list of ingredients with the highest ingredient by weight listed first. You can then check the nutritional value of a particular ingredient by referring to the nutrition information panel.
When it comes to Energy, look at the serving size. This energy bar contains 760kj per bar. People with diabetes who are trying to manage their weight should compare total energy of a few products to get perspective. For example, this energy bar is a snack, but when you compare it to the energy content of an apple (273Kj) or low-fat yoghurt (425Kj) you will notice that it contains twice the amount of kilojoules. There is no reference for energy content because you have to take into account your total energy intake across the day.
The Protein content per serving may come with a percentage next to it (not found on this example). This is merely to indicate how much of the product contributes to the recommended daily allowance of the average individual: about 55g protein per day.
This is important for diabetics, especially those who are carbohydrate counting or watching their carbohydrate intake. On most labels you will see two categories “Total Carbohydrates” and “of which are sugar”. This information can be tricky to interpret: the total amount of carb is more important than how much sugar and starch there is, as all sugar and starch eventually ends up as glucose in your blood stream. The “sugar” indicated on the food label could mean added sugar or natural sugars found in the food. If we look at the list of ingredients, we see that oats appear first (highest in weight) followed by sugar and golden syrup. This would indicate that oats make up most of the carbohydrate amount, with a smaller contribution made from sugar and golden syrup. The sugar is therefore added sugar.
If you look at the label, there are 25g of total carbohydrate in the energy bar. 15g of carb is one portion, so this energy bar is closer to two servings (30g) of carbohydrate. The bar therefore has a much higher carb content than an apple, 3 Provitas or 100ml low-fat flavoured yoghurt – all 1 carb.
When looking at the fat content, take a look at the values per 100g/ml. Take note of the total fat content and then the saturated fat and trans fatty acid.
For a product to be labeled “low-fat” there needs to be less than 3g of total fat per 100g (solids) or 1,5g per 100ml (liquids). Fat-free means less than 0,5 g total fat per 100 g/ml.
Saturated fat is part of total fat and is a key player in raising cholesterol. Low saturated fat is less than 1.5g per 100g (solids) or 0.75g per 100ml (liquids). This energy bar is not low in fat or saturated fat.
Trans fatty acids have a similarly harmful affect and also lower your HDL (good) cholesterol. For a product to be called “trans fat free” there should be less than 0,1g per 100g/ml.
Fibre is very important to help improve gastro-intestinal health, prevent cancers, help lower cholesterol and delay the release of glucose into the blood stream. It also helps you feel fuller for longer. These are all very positive benefits which make a high fibre product very desirable. The recommended daily intake for fibre is 25g per day (for women) and 30 to 45g per day (for men). As a general estimate, a high fibre product would be more than 5g of fibre per 100g. This energy bar just makes the grade.
Sodium comes from salt: a high salt intake has been linked to raised blood pressure in some people. The recommended daily intake of salt is 240 to 300mg per day. A low sodium product should contain less than 120mg per 100g. A sodium free product should contain less than 5mg per 100g. This energy bar is not too bad.
So overall how does the energy bar fair? The energy and total carbohydrate content of the energy bar are similar to that of a Bar One chocolate, with slightly less total fat. On the plus side the fibre content is good and the sodium content is low. I would suggest this energy bar as a treat.
We got sent this invitation this morning – doesn’t it sound fabulous? If you’re in Durban, check it out!
We are very excited to be organising our first event to raise funds for Diabetes SA.
Diabetes is a growing concern in SA and rising in terms of mortality.
Diabetes SA rely a great deal on fundraising so please help us to raise funds for this worthy cause and spread the word to family, friends & clients to support this fabulous event.
There will be a Decadent Morning Tea, Goodie Bags for everyone, Informative talks and Lucky Draw Prizes. Please see below details and note that the invite is extended to LADIES & GENTS.
The speakers at this event will be :
1) Dr Silvana Nienaber (Type 1 Diabetic)
2) Julie Peacock (Dietitian & T1D)
3) Doody Adams ( Editor of The Ridge Magazine ) : A mom giving her perspective on dealing with a child who has Type 1 diabetes.
We are the Blood Sugars project from the University of the Witwatersrand and the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.
November is National Diabetes Month.
We have created a performance that takes people through a reflective journey through the use of storytelling and metaphor.
The aim of the performance is to explore the complexities of living and working with Diabetes from the perspective of clinicians, patients and families with the ultimate aim of improving treatment outcomes through changed behaviour.
We would like to bring the performance to hospitals, clinics, schools and theatres as a way of reaching the general public.
We aim to perform in the month of October and November 2016.
Please email me if you are in Johannesburg and interested in hosting a performance.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
– Tshegofatso Seabi
– Health Communication Research Unit
– University of the Witwatersrand
I am a writer, copywriter and journalist; I have been running Humans of SA for 2 years – we also have a Facebook page. I wanted to create a space where I could share South African stories. My aim has always been to open windows into worlds we might know nothing about. I interviewed a lady recently who lost her father to diabetes.
She speaks about a lack of understanding in terms of care and treatment. I feel it is important to bring attention and help create more awareness by telling stories of people who are diabetic, of professions who can advice and help.
If you have a story you are happy to share, please get in touch by emailing me.
To all the diabetic mommies out there:
Being diabetic did you breastfeed your baby? I have found that my sugar dips from the breastfeeding. think I should stop as I nearly went into a coma, when I came to my sugar was 0.5, but I don’t want to stress my baby out. She does not like taking a bottle from me at all.
The doctors and councilors all seem to have different opinions. I have been feeding my baby less and have now got spiking sugars, I assume from my body adjusting again. I am very torn because my baby needs me more than my milk.
Has anyone else out there had the same situation?
It’s so heartening to read all of the posts on your website and learn from all of your experiences! It has inspired me to share my story on your website.
I am a 40 year old Indian male. Two years ago (18 December 2013) to be exact, I had admitted my self to the Umhlanga Netcare hospital. I was just too tired, too run down and did not know what was going on with my body. I had started feeling tired, restless, sleep deprived a few days before. I was also very stressed out and emotionally down due to a lengthy divorce battle and being separated from my children. The doctor attending to me admitted me to ICU. I was undergoing a Type 1 Diabetic Keto Acedosis attack. I lay in hospital for a week. When I was finally discharged, my weight had dropped from around 85 kg to 68kg! I was totally insulin dependent, and was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic at the age of 38.
My world seemed to be collapsing around me. First, the divorce/separation from my wife and kids (who mean the world to me), and now finally my health just failing me completely. I just could not cope with anything at that point in time.
Eventually I pulled myself together. I started off my new life by following my Insulin dosage instructions carefully, and by doing relentless research on Diabetes Type 1 and read up on everyting about Diabetes and related topics/posts/blogs etc. I learnt about a balanced Diabetes nutrition and and how to shop, prepare and eat food Diabetes Smart. I eat a low fat, controlled Low GI Carb Diet, with no refined/processed foods. I have developed an exercise routine that I follow religiously. My eating pattern, portion controls and diet have become a daily way of life now. Its embedded in my lifestyle.
When I was going through the Type 1 DKA attack, my blood Glucose was 27 mmol/l, my HbA1C at that time was 18.5 percent and Cholesterol 4.67 mmol/l. Since Dec 2013, I do HbA1c’s every 6 months, together with Cholesterol checks etc. My last two HbA1C’s were 4.90 and 5.10 mmol/l, and Cholesterol 3.67 mmol/l.
I believe that I have my condition under control, and firmly believe that I can still have a meaningful, productive life of good quality, if I maintain my Diabetes Care Routine.
Type 1 Diabetes does not have to be a death sentence, you can turn it in your favour by living and eating healthily and staying positive about your life.
Cheers for now everyone and happy, healthy living!
Sweet Life editor Bridget McNulty was recently interviewed on Afternoon Express on SABC3 – here’s the episode if you’d like to watch! She was joined by some fantastic diabetes experts who spoke about everything from health to diet, support and living with the condition. Make yourself a cuppa and watch them all below…
The Western Cape branch of Diabetes SA has partnered with the Lions to organise a walk this National Diabetes Month – get all the details below!
When: Saturday 28th November 2015
Where: Cape Academy for Maths, Science and Technology, Firgrove Way, Constantia
Route: Through the Tokai Forest
Find out more: By emailing email@example.com
A message from Diabetes SA Western Cape:
Diabetes is the 2nd leading cause of death in the Western Cape. In South Africa there are over 6 million people diagnosed with Diabetes and many more who don’t know they have the disease. Diabetes is prevalent in over 30% of the population of the Western Cape. Diabetes kills more people than HIV/Aids, and people with Diabetes likely to develop T.B. and die from it.
Diabetes South Africa is a registered Non profit organisation and public benefit organisation and registered under Section 18A with S.A.R.S. They raise funds towards the implementation of many projects which include; camps for children with diabetes, workshops for newly diagnosed patients, Schools Awareness project, Community Wellness groups, Public Awareness events and Training of Home Based Carers in Underprivileged Communities. Included in their services are Corporate Wellness Days where education, counseling and screening of staff can be done at small fee.
No financial support is available to Diabetes South Africa in the current Healthcare system. In order to facilitate their services to the people of South Africa, Diabetes S.A. needs the support of the Private Sector in it’s efforts to reduce the damaging effects of this disease and premature mortality, which affects so many people in the prime of their working lives. The prevalence of diabetes has increased hugely in the coloured community, and the high prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes portends that cardiovascular diseases might grow to epidemic proportions in the near future in South Africa.
Contact Diabetes S.A. Western Cape Branch at 021 425 4440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to offer some support, or book your corporate wellness day. Help further their very important work of saving lives and preventing diabetes.
At the first global Cities Changing Diabetes Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, today, it was announced that the City of Joburg together with the City of Vancouver will join Mexico City, Shanghai, Tianjin, Copenhagen and Houston as partner in addressing the urban diabetes challenge. With an official population of 4.5 million people, Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and the first in Africa to join Cities Changing Diabetes.
More than two thirds of the world’s 400 million people with diabetes live in urban areas.
In South Africa alone, more than 2.7 million people live with diabetes, 4 out of 5 living in cities.
The Cities Changing Diabetes initiative is a response to the rapidly increasing number of people with diabetes now living in urban areas, as well as to the ways in which urbanisation is impacting on the risk of developing diabetes.
The programme aims to find out more about how urban environments and living conditions contribute so significantly to the risk of city dwellers developing diabetes. This dovetails with the City of Joburg’s Vision 2030, which aims to significantly improve the quality of life for all residents over the next 15 years.
“We have learnt from experience that the way in which the cities are laid out and managed has a direct impact on the health and well-being of their residents,” says Nonceba Molwele, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Health and Social Development in the City of Joburg. “Our aim in joining Cities Changing Diabetes is to learn as much as we can from international experience and to find innovative ways of approaching the diabetes issue in our city.”
The Cities Changing Diabetes programme involves mapping the true extent of the condition, identifying ‘hot issues’, sharing solutions and upscaling programmes aimed at reducing the risk of developing diabetes in urban populations, improving treatment outcomes, and making cities healthier places in which to live, work and play As a partnership programme, it encourages city leadership, urban planners, communities, the business sector, healthcare professionals and academics to work together in developing solutions..
“This is the first-ever partnership of its kind,” says Dr Timmy Kedijang, Vice President and General Manager of Novo Nordisk South Africa, “Our objective is to ensure that we mobilise as many resources as possible at our disposal and come up with workable, sustainable solutions to ensure healthier communities.”
A delegation from the City of Joburg including the MMC, the VP and General Manager of Novo Nordisk South Africa and representatives from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), travelled to Copenhagen in Denmark to be officially inducted to the programme at the global Cities Changing Diabetes Summit, 16 November.
About Cities Changing Diabetes
Cities Changing Diabetes is a partnership programme to address the urban diabetes challenge. Initiated by Novo Nordisk, it is a response to the dramatic rise of urban diabetes and has been developed in partnership with University College London and Steno Diabetes Center, as well as a range of local partners including the diabetes/health community, city governments, academic institutions, city experts from a variety of fields and civil society organisations. The aim of the programme is to map the problem, share solutions and drive concrete action to fight the diabetes challenge in the big cities around the world. For more information, visit citieschangingdiabetes.com