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Stopping Diabetes: The Silent Killer

Professor Peter Clifton joins Dr. Ross Walker and other experts to discuss how to improve the management of Type 2 Diabetes

Leading health and nutrition experts say millions of Australians are at risk of developing a potentially deadly disease that will cost the country billions of dollars – and most are not taking any steps to prevent it.

Professor Peter Clifton, an endocrinologist and a Professor of Nutrition at the University of South Australia and a founder of the CSIRO ‘Total Wellbeing Diet’, joined leading cardiologist and preventative health expert Dr Ross Walker last night in Melbourne for a discussion around improving the management of type 2 diabetes, which is often referred to as “The Silent Killer.”

The event was organised by Melbourne-based Omniblend Innovation, which specialises in food technology innovation.

Diabetes Australia estimates around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, including more than half a million with silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. Another two million Australians are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Potential complications of diabetes include an increased likelihood of heart attack and stroke, potential vision loss and kidney damage.

Amputations are also 15 times more common in people with diabetes.

With so many at risk, experts say it is critical to focus on preventing or delaying diabetes progression, particularly by making changes to what we eat and other lifestyle factors.

“A healthy diet and active lifestyle are important components in managing diabetes but anyone who has ever tried sticking to a strict diet knows how difficult it can be to understand and maintain changes in the long term. The situation is no different for people with type 2 diabetes,” said Professor Clifton.

Research is offering new insight into the effectiveness of several popular dietary interventions.

“These studies suggest that reducing carbohydrate intake in favour of unsaturated fat and protein, increasing your intake of soluble fibre and consistently choosing low-GI foods, along with exercise, will help slow diabetes progression and improve your HbA1c, the marker of blood glucose control,” added Professor Clifton.

Professor Clifton explained that some of the most exciting research has focused on using whey protein to manipulate the way the stomach empties and the way the pancreas releases insulin.

Australian researchers, working with Omniblend Innovation, have recently found a way to deliver a manageable dose of protein that reduces blood sugar spikes and increases your fibre intake, in the form of a pre-meal drink called Faulding GlucoControl.

“This drink will prove especially important in preventing and delaying the progression of type 2 diabetes for those with pre-diabetes or well-controlled diabetes. It lowers the glycaemic index of meals by up to 38% and offers a much simpler and effective way to lower GI when compared with strict diets.”

Dr. Walker agreed that while there is no ‘magic diet’ for type 2 diabetes, we can use what we are learning from these studies to develop effective and more sustainable solutions that help slow diabetes progression, even for those who are not yet diagnosed.

“Diabetes is a silent disease. There are no symptoms or pain in the early stages, which is why so many Australians are not taking enough action to maintain their health or prevent its progression,” said Dr. Walker. “Drinking Faulding GlucuControl before a meal is a safe and useful strategy no matter which recommended diabetes diet you choose but the best advice is to discuss options with your doctor and find out what will work best for you. Ultimately, the best diet is one that you can maintain for the long term”.

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