Fight diabetes by starting the day with a healthy breakfast

World Diabetes Day – 14 November 2015

Having a healthy low calorie and fibre rich breakfast every morning is one of the ways Tower Hamlets residents can reduce their risk of developing diabetes.As part of World Diabetes Day, which takes place on Saturday 14 November, NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Tower Hamlets Council are promoting the benefits a healthy breakfast can have on combating the onset of diabetes and also on helping those with diabetes to better manage their condition.

Currently 3.9 million people in the UK are living with diabetes, out of which 90 per cent of have Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin.

Sadly more and more people are developing Type 2 diabetes, however eating a healthy balanced diet and being more active can reduce this risk. In Tower Hamlets, it is estimated that more than 13,600 people have diabetes, while approximately 1,800 individuals have the disease but have not yet been diagnosed.

Sir Sam Everington, a local GP and chair of NHS Tower Hamlets CCG, explains:

“The best thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing diabetes is healthier eating and increasing the amount of activity you do. Starting each day with a healthy breakfast and sticking to the recommended calorie count for your age and gender is really important. Changing your eating and exercise habits can seem difficult but even small changes can make a big difference over time.”

“There are a number of symptoms that can indicate the onset of Type 2 diabetes and I would urge people to listen to their body. Noticing changes and seeking medical advice if you have any concerns could help detect diabetes sooner.’”

The main symptoms of diabetes are:

  • feeling very thirsty
  • urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night
  • feeling very tired
  • weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
  • itching around the genitalia areas, or frequent episodes of thrush
  • cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • blurred vision (caused by the lens of the eye becoming dry)

Sir Sam Everington continues: “If your family has a history of diabetes, or you relate to any of these symptoms please make an appointment to see your GP. Early detection of diabetes is important as the sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you and your GP can work together to manage the condition.”

Eating a healthy breakfast not only prevents blood sugar levels from getting too high, it also keeps people fuller for longer. Among the healthy breakfast options are:

  • wholegrain bread such as seeded batch, multi-seed, granary, soya and linseed
  • having pure fruit spread or mashed or chopped banana on toast instead of jam
  • low-fat or plain, natural Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, nuts or seeds
  • porridge with nut butter or fresh fruit

It is also important not to add extra sugar to food and reduce the amount of butter you use. If you want to make something a little sweeter, try using natural sweeteners such as raw honey. Another helpful tip for healthier cooking is to grill food instead of frying it.

Councillor Amy Whitelock-Gibbs said:

“Eating a healthy breakfast not only prevents blood sugar levels from getting too high but also keeps people full throughout the morning. Whilst sugary cereals and white toast may be convenient these options typically raise blood sugar levels rapidly and can actually leave people feeling hungry well before lunchtime.

“There are already high numbers of people in Tower Hamlets with diabetes and many more residents are at risk of developing it.  We are working hard with our partners across the borough to help people understand the benefits of a healthier diet and regular exercise both in controlling diabetes and reducing your chance of getting the disease.”