Tag Archives: calorie counting

Why would a 3 year old develop Type 2 diabetes?

chihood obesityA few days ago the world was aghast at the story of a 3 year old Texan toddler developing Type 2 diabetes. The newspapers, TV, radio and social media channels all carried the story.

This quote, in an article in The Independent, left me bemused:

Experts who reviewed the girl’s diet found “poor family nutritional habits with uncontrolled counting of calories and fat”.

Nowhere in this article was there any criticism of dietary sugar being a causal factor – just “calories” and “fat”. Surely there is enough evidence available now for us all to realise that the biggest dietary culprit for obesity amongst young children is sugar or refined carbs that the body can quickly turn into sugar. Yet this article lets the pure white and deadly stuff totally off the hook.

This story, sadly, isn’t isolated. In January this year we saw similar cases of Scottish children as young as 4 years of age also being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The article carried in The Scotsman newspaper at the time also failed to discuss the role of sugar in relation to these children.

The media has a responsibility to keep up the pressure on sugar. Powerful lobbyists will be doing their best to downplay the role of sugar in the burgeoning obesity and diabetes crises, but for the sake of such young children we have to make sure the finger is well and truly pointed in the right direction. At sugar.

There is enough evidence now to back up the notion that added sugars should be a real focus for change: not just obvious sugars in sweets, cakes, biscuits etc, but those needless and mischievously added to savoury foods, sauces, processed foods. Then of course there is the issue that even fresh fruit and vegetables have been bred to contain more sugars, to make tastes more palatable to children it seems.

It’s really sad to see children developing serious debilitating conditions at such young ages, and it’s too simplistic just to blame parents. Now I’m not letting them off the hook here – it’s obvious that 5 and half stones is far too heavy for a 3 year old girl and yes parents of overweight children could take advice before things get to such extreme  levels. But advice from whom? The messages about healthy eating are confusing. I see plenty of evidence, both clinically and anecdotally in everyday life, of people becoming overweight and obese DESPITE trying to eat healthily. Next time you’re in a supermarket notice how many overweight people are pushing shopping trolleys filled with low-fat manufactured food products. The very products the food industry wants you to believe, and go on believing, will help you maintain good health and an appropriate weight. They won’t. Low-fat products mean higher-sugar products of course.

So it’s really unhelpful that we have the media STILL talking about fat instead of sugar in relation to obesity. We just need to stay focused on one simple message please: SUGAR IS MAKING OUR KIDS FAT AND SICK.

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The first principle of healthy eating for diabetes

There has been so much in the press and news recently about healthy eating / weight loss: the most effective diets, the healthiest things to eat and the best things to avoid. It strikes me that what applies to non-diabetics isn’t always the wisest advice for people with diabetes, and actually people with diabetes have a more tenuous path to walk to achieve both weight loss and good health. I’m not talking about out-there whacky fad diets here. There’s some quite mainstream, some might say “sensible”, advice that doesn’t quite hit the mark for people with blood sugar issues.

I suppose the thing that got me thinking was a strap-line in an article in The Times recently. It read: “The debate over fat and carbs obscures the truth that consuming fewer calories than we burn is the only way to slim“.

Well the truth is, that the debate about fat and carbs is crucial for people with diabetes, and it matters very much what form of calories you consume. The reason being of course that what the calories are made from has a huge impact on their effect on blood sugar levels. The difference between carbs and fats or indeed proteins is vast in terms of their effect on blood sugar.

But it isn’t just the number or nature of your daily calories that impact on blood sugar. The timing and size of meals is also a key factor in keeping your blood sugars balanced. Just these 2 factors could be the difference between burning body fat or storing more of it!

The two diagrams below illustrate what might happen if you eat fewer larger meals compared with smaller more frequent meals. Though they may involve the same actual foods overall, you can clearly see the different effects timings and meal sizes would have on your body.

InsulinGraph

InsulinGraph2

Blood sugar balance is one of four major principles underpinning the RebalanceDiabetes programme. I explain all of them in the FREE RebalanceDiabetes seminars that I hold each month. I would love to explain the other 3 to you in person and if that sounds good to you too why not book your place at the next event on Monday 23 March – here’s the link.

See you there?

How many calories?

So how does a diet of about 1100-1200 calories a day sound to you? Possibly a bit restrictive? Like you might go hungry? Impossible? Whatever it is for you HOLD THAT THOUGHT!

Did you see an article in the press recently about foods and snacks that contain a massive 2000 calories? If not here it is! We are now surrounded by readily available foods and snacks that contain so many calories it’s mind-blowing. And we have completely lost sight of what is normal/reasonable/do-able?

Take a ‘treat’ at Costa as an example – you have to love that they are very open about the calorific values of their productsmenu attached here:

1 Chai Latte massimo size (667 calories) and 1 portion Layered Carrot Cake – well carrots are vegetables right? (617 calories) – that’s a whopping 1284 calories and it’s only a snack!!

1 Raspberry & White Chocolate Cooler medio size (517 calories) and 1 Raspberry & Almond Square – well fruit and nuts are good right? (445 calories) – that’s a calorific-budget-blowing 962 calories!!

1 Long Jing Green tea (5 calories) and 1 Mini Rhubarb & Custard Tart (133 calories) – a manageable now-and-again-treat at 138 calories!

It’s all about choices…and being a little bit savvy.

So that 1100-1200 calories-per-day-diet? What’s it to be?

This?:

(actually one large burger & fries blows the budget slightly at nearly 1300 calories!)
Slide1

Or this?:

Slide2

Because, believe it or not, these menus are both about the same number of calories.

To begin to find out how you can enjoy 4 or 5 plates of food, together with a hot chocolate drink, each day sign up for the next FREE RebalanceDiabetes seminar – click here!