Sugar is a dangerous addiction
A LISMORE nutritionist concerned about the sugary diets of Australian kids has spoken out ahead of National Diabetes Week.
Verona Chadwick of Get a Life Physio Acupuncture and Nutrition says over the past 15 years the obesity rate has doubled in young children and more than tripled in teenagers, with excess sugar consumption largely blamed.
The University of NSW found that 50% of children between 5-12 years and greater numbers of teens, drank more than two sugary drinks a day, with just one can of soft drink containing, on average, 16 teaspoons of sugar.
"Sugary junk foods and drinks stimulate the same areas in the brain as drugs of abuse," Ms Chadwick said.
"This makes sugar cravings very real and very dangerous, meaning kicking the habit of the sweet, white powder can be as difficult as quitting alcohol and cigarettes."
Ms Chadwick says her mission is to "educate people about the dangers of 'hidden' sugars, and explain how poor diet and lifestyle choices drive chronic illness, inflammation and the risk of diabetes".
"Too much sugar is toxic to the body, and stimulates insulin to deposit the sugar as fat," she said.
"Over time, people get fatter and require more and more insulin to do the same job, and this leads to debilitating and potentially life-threatening, diabetes."
Ms Chadwick offered some advice for those looking to improve their lifestyle ahead of Diabetes Week.
"Whilst initially it can seem challenging, small changes make a big impact. Start with simply filling 50% of your plate with salad or vegetables that provide essential minerals to improve insulin sensitivity, and of course, drink water rather than the oh so dangerous sugary drinks," she said.
"It takes 10-15 years to tip over into diabetes so there is plenty of time to turn your life around."
National Diabetes Week will be running from July 13-19.
What is Diabetes?
The inability to properly produce insulin, which converts glucose to energy.
In type 1 diabetes the pancreas stops making insulin.
In type 2 diabetes the pancreas makes some insulin ineffectively.
Without insulin the body burns its own fats as a substitute.
Unless treated with daily insulin injections, people with type 1 accumulate dangerous bloodborne chemicals.
Type 2 can be managed with lifestyle choices and medication .