November 14 was World Diabetes Day, an international day to
raise awareness of diabetes.
Worldwide, it is estimated that 415 million adults
are living with diabetes. That means
that if diabetes were a country, it would be the third largest country in the
world. In Australia, 1.7 million people
have diabetes and 280 new cases are diagnosed every day.
Although new cases are diagnosed every day, worldwide, one in every two adults with diabetes is undiagnosed. Diagnosis is so important for early detection
to improve management and prevent complications of diabetes.
Are you concerned about developing type 2 diabetes? By screening for diabetes, you can ensure you
catch rising blood glucose levels before a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is
made. Up to 70% of type 2 diabetes can
be prevented by making diet and lifestyle changes.
Tried and true approaches to the prevention of diabetes
include losing weight if you are overweight, increasing physical activity,
eating a healthy, balanced diet and quit smoking if you are a smoker.
But what are some additional, non-traditional things that
you can do to help prevent diabetes or better manage your diabetes?
Go nuts for nuts
Great news if you’re a nut lover. Eating 30g of nuts on most days of the week
can help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 30%. The healthy fats found in nuts may help
improve insulin sensitivity (insulin is the hormone which helps lower blood
glucose levels). If you have type 2
diabetes, eating nuts with a meal may help slow digestion which prevents spikes
in blood glucose after a meal.
So which type of nuts should you eat? All nuts are packed full of nutrition,
including fibre, healthy fats, protein, vitamin E and selenium, but choosing
unsalted, plain or dry roasted nuts is best. A 30g serve is roughly a handful. You can top your morning multigrain toast
with chunky nut butter (like peanut or cashew butter), throw walnuts into your
salad at lunch, nibble on a handful of raw almonds as an afternoon snack, or
make a homemade pesto using walnuts or cashews and fresh herbs and top your
veggie pasta with pesto for dinner. For other exciting ideas for how to add
nuts to your diet, book in with one of our dietitians.
Mindfulness, or the practice of bringing awareness to the
present moment, has been used as an effective strategy for weight management
and may now also be beneficial for the prevention of diabetes. A 2016 study in
the journal Obesity found that obese participants who were taught
mindfulness had lower fasting glucose levels than those not taught mindfulness. That means that mindfulness may be a useful
strategy in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
How can you practice mindfulness? Start by bringing
awareness to your thoughts and feelings as you are eating. Rather than eating mindlessly while in front
of the computer or television, tune into your own experience of eating. Take note of the taste, textures, sight and
smells of your food. Measure your
feelings of hunger at the start of eating and be aware of how every bite brings
you closer to feeling satisfied or full. Mindfulness takes practice, and
meeting with a dietitian can be quite helpful in learning how to use
mindfulness strategies with your eating.
Take a walking break
There is a strong link between sedentary behaviour and type
2 diabetes. But before you begin celebrating
because you go to the gym five days a week, make sure you don’t fall into the
‘Active Couch Potato’ category. Even physically active people, or those meeting
the recommended 150 minutes per week of physical activity, can be classed as
participating in sedentary behaviour.
The active couch potato meets the activity guidelines but otherwise spends
long stretches of time sitting, for example an office worker who sits for eight
hours each work day but exercises after work five days a week. It is those long stretches of sitting that
raise your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Why is sitting so bad?
After long periods of sitting, muscles begin to burn fewer calories,
blood flow is decreased throughout the body and to the brain, blood pressure
begins to rise, ultimately increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes,
blood glucose and insulin levels spike, which taxes the pancreas and may over
the long term, damage cells, tissues and organs.
If you’re an office worker who sits all day, what can you
do? It is the long stretches of sitting that are particularly damaging. So take a short, five minute break from
sitting every thirty minutes. This five
minute walking break has been shown to improve glycemic control, blood glucose
levels after a meal and insulin response, particularly in those at risk of type
Set a reminder on your computer to stand
up every 30 minutes. Walk to a
colleague’s desk rather than send an email.
When you begin to feel fatigued or peckish, take that as a good sign
that you may need to stand up and move.
For other, out of the box ideas on how to prevent or better
manage your diabetes, book in with one of our dietitians or our diabetes
And in ode to World Diabetes Day remember to get screened by
making an appointment with your GP.
International Diabetes Federation, accessed 7/11/2016 from
R, et al. Nut and peanut butter consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in
women, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002.
Can mindful eating help lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular
disease, Obesity Society, 2016, access 7/11/2016 from
,7 Dempsey, P.C., 2016. Standing up to type 2
diabetes in a sitting-centric world, Australian
Diabetes Educator, volume 19(3)pp 34-38.
Have you set a goal to lose weight but find you are struggling to shift the kilos? Does it seem that no matter what you do your weight remains unchanged? If this situation describes you, perhaps you are falling victim to the diet saboteurs.
Diet saboteurs are the sneaky ways that excess calories creep into your diet. Even the most well informed and well-meaning dieters can fall victim to the diet saboteurs. There are many ways that extra calories can enter your diet and being aware of the ways can help you continue towards your weight loss goals.
Who or what are the diet saboteurs?
Diet saboteurs may be situations, things, or sometimes people that encourage over eating or eating the wrong types of foods. Examples of diet saboteurs include:
Large, extra large or super size serves
Economy sized packages
Buying in bulk
Large plates, large bowls and large utensils
Food in plain sight
Friends, family or partners who encourage you to eat
As you can see, diet saboteurs come in a variety of forms. But how do these saboteurs negatively influence your weight loss?
How do diet saboteurs sabotage your diet?
In order to lose weight, you must take in fewer calories than you burn in a day. While that may sound easy in theory, it means that you need to eat less of most foods and certainly less junk foods. But the diet saboteurs have a way of encouraging you to eat more, not less.
Beware of the supersize
Serving sizes at restaurants, take-away shops and in fast food outlets have increased over the past forty years, with some fast food restaurants now offering serving sizes up to five times larger than what was first available (Clemons, R, 2012). Sizes today range from small to super-size, with larger servings offering deeper discounts in price. While larger servings may be easy on your pocketbook they are not so good for your waistline. The extra calories provided in larger servings make it very easy to over indulge.
Studies show that you consume more food when provided with a larger serving size. A double portion of food leads to consuming nearly 35% more calories (Zlatevska, N. et al 2014). The reason you eat more when given more? Rather than using internal cues such as your level of hunger or fullness to determine when you have eaten enough, many use visual cues, like the quantity of food remaining, to signal when to stop eating. The larger the serving, the more food on the plate and the more food that you are likely to consume.
What can you do? Choose the smallest size available. Remember, your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Even if the small size appears too small to match your appetite, you can always purchase more food later if you are not satisfied.
Why packaging matters
Are you buying the extra large box of cereal or the economy bag of crisps because it appears to be better value? While often times the larger packages are better value, they encourage over consumption.
Package size determines your ‘consumption norm’ or the quantity of food that you consider to be an appropriate serving size (Wansink, B, 2007). For example, people eat 20-25% more from a larger bag of crisps than from a small bag. People pour more cereal from a larger box than from a smaller box. The larger the packaging, the greater the consumption norm and the more food you consider a reasonable serving size.
What can you do? Purchase food in smaller packaging sizes when possible. If this is not economical for you, purchase food in large sizes or in bulk but separate smaller serves into containers or plastic baggies. This will help prevent you from dishing up an extra-large serve from your next value package.
Why plate size matters
Your choice in dinner plates could be sabotaging your diet. Dinner plate sizes have increased 36% since 1960 which means that you can reasonably fit 36% more food onto your dinner plate (Clemons, R., 2012). Research backs this up, showing that people serve 30-50% more food when using larger dinner plates than when using smaller plates (Wansink, B., 2007). The plate acts as a visual cue to help you determine an appropriate serving size, so a larger plate leads to dishing up larger servings.
What can you do? Eat your meals from a side plate or a bread and butter plate. This limits the amount of food you, or your loved ones, serve up.
At a meal, would you prefer to choose from a large selection of foods or have just a few choices? Would you prefer 32 flavours of ice cream or three? If you enjoy having a variety of food choices at your meals, this may be secretly sabotaging your diet. The buffet effect, as it is aptly named, demonstrates that the greater selection of foods available, the more calories you are likely to consume (Wansink, B., 2007).
What can you do? Avoid buffets when you can. When dining at home, offer a few healthy options at meals rather than providing a large spread. Be aware that more choice leads to more calories so choose your foods wisely. Provide more choices of vegetables and salads and less choices of other foods.
The biscuit jar
Do you find yourself craving a biscuit every time you see the biscuit jar? The more often you see food, the more likely you are to want that food. Studies show that food in your direct line of sight, such as biscuits in a glass biscuit jar, lead to consuming more of that food (Wansink, B., 2007).
What can you do? Place the biscuit jar out of sight if you. If you can’t hide the biscuit jar, instead choose an opaque biscuit jar. Store unhealthy foods out of sight, on the highest shelf in your cupboard. Instead, make healthy foods convenient by placing a fruit baskets on the kitchen bench and chopped up veggies on the top shelf in the fridge.
Do you have friends that seem to sabotage your best efforts to lose weight? Do you have mates that like to catch up over beers? Does your family insist on serving you double portions of meat and potato at the Sunday roast? These relationships, whether intentional or not, may be sabotaging your best efforts to lose weight.
What can you do? Try to exert control when you can. Recommend a restaurant where you know healthy options are on the menu. Encourage catch ups over a walk outdoors, at a sporting event, or at a local park. At family functions, insist on smaller portions or feel confident that it is ok to leave food on your plate. At parties, offer to bring a healthy dish. Share your weight loss goals with friends and family and ask that they help support you.
When you can’t exert control, be mindful. Be aware of how much food and how many alcoholic drinks you consume. Use a plate rather than nibbling food direct from a platter. This makes it easier to track much food you have eaten. Fill your plate with salads or vegetables, if available. Try to use a fresh wine glass every time you fill up so you can track your drinks. Or alternate water with alcoholic drinks.
Remember, it is not rude to leave unwanted food on your plate or to say no to seconds.
Clemons, R., 2012, Increasing Portion Sizes, Choice Magazine, accessed 27 January 2015 from http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/food-and-health/diet-and-exercise/weight-loss/increasing-portion-sizes.aspx.
Wansink, B., 2007, Mindless Eating: Why we Eat More Than we Think, Bantom Dell, New York.
Zlatevska, N., Dubelaar, C., Holden, S., 2014, Sizing Up the Effect of Portion Size on Consumption: A Meta-Analytic Review, Journal of Marketing: 78(3) pp. 140-154.
Have you considered trying a green nutritional supplement to boost your intake of plant nutrients?
Newtown Nutrition are offering 50% off Nuzest Good Green Stuff 120g. Get in quick - $16 while stock lasts. 75+ plant-based ingredients in one daily serve, including proteins, antioxidents, vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes and other goodies such as CoQ10 and B-Vitamins for energy production, plus milk thistle for liver detoxification. It's free from gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and GMOs. No artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.
Enjoy in your morning smoothie or juice or simply as a shot. Read more about the product and potential benefits here. Contact us at email@example.com to request one put aside or posted out to you.
As Dietitians, both in and out of consults, we are constantly asked for advice on the world of health and nutrition. Quite often, we are either faced with the same questions again and again - or are asked questions that we know lots of people want the answers to.
We have decided to start creating a database of these questions on Youtube - so without further adieu, we welcome Newtown Nutrition TV! Our first video has gone live this morning, and there will be plenty more where that came from.
It's going to be a place where we can answer your questions, address things commonly brought up in our one on one consultations, and so much more! Diet myth busting, recipes, healthy eating tips, condition-specific information and behind the scenes.
If there is anything you'd love to hear a Dietitians perspective on, send us an email with and we'll do our best to get it covered in the near future!
Newtown Nutrition is excited to announce that our dietitian
Kate is now a Credentialled Diabetes
Educator (CDE). As aCDE, Kate has extensive experience in diabetes
and is able to provide diabetes self-management education, as well as
information, motivation and support to aid in the prevention of
diabetes-related complications. If you have diabetes or are at risk of
diabetes, meeting with a Diabetes Educator will support you in your
understanding of the condition and provide guidance for achieving optimal
With a GP referral, you may be eligible for a Medicare
rebate for your diabetes education appointment, but a GP referral is not
necessary to book in with Kate (please note that we do not bulk bill). If you have questions about whether a diabetes
educator would be helpful in your care, feel free to direct your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To book in with Kate, you may ring reception
at 02 9517 9932.
At Newtown Nutrition, we work closely with some of Sydneys leading weight loss surgeons - assisting their patients to get the best results from their bariatric surgery.
The main concern post-surgery is being able to get enough nutrition with such a small stomach (generally 1/2 cup portion per meal). Whilst people successfully learn to implement adequate nutrition with the limited portion size, two re-occurring complaints we hear as Dietitians is that people struggle to know what to eat socially and to come up with variety.
This image was sent in from one of our previous clients who has shown that eating post-op, doesn't have to be boring! How's this for a gourmet selection?
Protein - check!
Fibre - check!
Variety - check!
Eating post-op can be an exciting challenge. If you've had weight loss surgery and are struggling to know what to eat, check in with one of our experienced Dietitians.