Most 30-somethings are sleepwalking into a diabetes diagnosis because they are eating 3 TIMES more potatoes and bread than needed, expert says
- Professor Joan Taylor, of De Montfort University, blamed current NHS guidance
- It states that carbohydrates should make up just over a third of what we eat
- Speaking at the British Science Festival, she called for it to be cut to just 10%
Most people in their 30s could unknowingly be on the way to developing diabetes because of society’s carb-heavy diets, a top expert warned today.
Professor Joan Taylor, a diabetes expert at Leicester’s De Montfort University, blamed current NHS nutrition guidance.
It states that carbohydrates — such as potatoes, bread and rice — should make up just over a third of what we eat.
But speaking at the British Science Festival, Professor Taylor called for this to be cut to just 10 per cent.
Professor Joan Taylor, a diabetes expert based at Leicester’s De Montfort University, blamed current NHS nutrition guidance. It states that carbohydrates — such as potatoes, bread and rice — should make up just over a third of what we eat. But speaking at the British Science Festival, Professor Taylor called for this to be cut to just 10 per cent
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a condition which causes a person’s blood sugar to get too high.
More than 4million people in the UK, and 30million in the US, are thought to have some form of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is usually caused by obesity — and the condition is reversible.
The condition means the body does not react properly to insulin – the hormone which controls absorption of sugar into the blood – and cannot properly regulate sugar glucose levels in the blood.
Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as the buildup makes it harder to control glucose levels, and also makes the body more resistant to insulin.
Weight loss is the key to reducing liver fat and getting symptoms under control.
Symptoms include tiredness, feeling thirsty, and frequent urination.
It can lead to more serious problems with nerves, vision and the heart.
Treatment usually involves changing your diet and lifestyle, but more serious cases may require medication.
Eating less starchy foods could result in people losing weight – drastically slashing the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
It will also help blood sugar levels come ‘down to normal’.
Starchy carbs tend to be calorie-dense, which is why they have been vilified over the past few decades.
Professor Taylor said: ‘If you can cut it down to 10 per cent, bearing in mind that the NHS recommendation is about 35 per cent, then not only will you lose weight, which is a good thing for metabolic syndrome and type 2, but your blood glucose comes down to normal.’
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not make enough insulin, or if the insulin it makes doesn’t work properly — leading to high blood sugar levels.
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to blindness and leave patients needing their limbs amputated or in a coma.
The condition affects roughly 4.5million Britons and more than 30m Americans.
But hundreds of thousands are feared to be unknowingly walking around with the condition.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is genetic, type 2 diabetes is mainly driven by obesity. It is also reversible with a healthy lifestyle.
Professor Taylor said: ‘If you talk to diabetologists, they will tell you that most people from their 30s onwards… are beginning to put on the kind of weight these days that means then moving into the metabolic syndrome, that then is a route to diabetes.
‘Most people are at risk.
‘It’s only the slim, athletic types that stay like that into their 30s and 40s that are not.
‘That’s an amazing thing, really.’
Metabolic syndrome is the medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension) and obesity.
Diabetes UK estimates that one in three adults in the UK have pre-diabetes, which means their blood glucose levels are above normal but below the threshold for a diabetes diagnosis.
Around 90 per cent of people with diabetes have type 2, around 8 per cent have type 1 diabetes, and about 2 per cent have rarer types of diabetes.
NHS England suggests the service spends around £10billion a year on diabetes – around 10 per cent of its entire budget.
Research has shown that, for some people, diet, physical activity and sustained weight loss can be effective in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 50 per cent.
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain
• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide