The World Health Organisation (WHO) has selected diabetes as the theme for World Health Day 20161, to raise awareness of the ways in which diabetes can be prevented or managed effectively to avoid complications. On the occasion of this year’s World Health Day, WHO encourages people to focus on early diagnosis, physical activity and healthy eating, as these are the cornerstones of diabetes prevention. In this effort, low calorie sweeteners can become a sweet ally for both the prevention and management of diabetes, as they provide the desired sweet taste without affecting blood glucose and insulin levels.
A large proportion of diabetes cases are preventable or even treatable! Simple lifestyle changes such as maintaining normal body weight, engaging in regular physical activity - through at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days -, and eating a healthy diet have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes2.
A healthy diet should include more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fish, and less meat, saturated fats and sugars, which can be substituted with low calorie sweeteners. As low calorie sweeteners have no impact on insulin and blood glucose levels, their importance in the diets of people with diabetes is undisputed. Low calorie sweeteners offer the pleasure of sweet tasting foods and drinks without the calories and most importantly without affecting glucose control3, as recognised also in the joint scientific statement of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA)4. Furthermore, in 2011, following the evaluation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in relation to the evidence for low calorie sweeteners, the European Commission approved the following health claim: “The consumption of foods/ drinks containing low calorie sweeteners instead of sugar induces a lower blood glucose rise after their consumption compared to sugar-containing foods/ drinks”5.
Halt the rise!
Diabetes is a non-communicable disease that directly impacts more than 350 million people worldwide, mostly in low- and middle-income countries6. This number is likely to be more than double in the next 20 years, which is in great part attributed to the rising levels of obesity and physical inactivity7. In Europe, based on the latest figures released by the International Diabetes Federation in 20158, it is estimated that 59.8 million people between 20-79 years of age are suffering from diabetes.
Continuing the tradition to support initiatives that aim to halt the rise of diabetes, the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) is proud to support World Health Day on 7th April. You may read more information about World Health Day 2016 via the following link and find out how low calorie sweeteners can help people with diabetes to maintain the sweetness in their life through the ISA factsheet on diabetes.