Diabetes: Important numbers to know

2014-07-29 17:43:05

3827 000 000 people worldwide are reported to live with Diabetes. This is expected to increase1

There are various tests to confirm a diagnosis of the different stages of diabetes. Click here for more information.


  • Weight management is an important part of treatment. Increasing BMI from <25 to >33 kg/m2 increases the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. In men, this is by approximately 20 fold2
  • A 10% loss of body weight in an overweight diabetic, will help decrease the risk of further complications.
  • An individualized dietary approach is recommended. This can include calorie restriction, reduced carbohydrate and/or a reduced fat approach.
  • Insulin secretion responds to the quantity and the quality of carbohydrate.
    15g of carbohydrate is considered an exchange or unit.

Examples of 15g of higher quality (contains nutrients) carbohydrate:

Examples of lower quality (nutrient empty) carbohydrate

1 slice of whole wheat bread

1 medium apple

½ cup cooked brown rice

½ cup cooked oats

3 jelly babies

3 tsp sugar

2 blocks of chocolate (also contains fat)

1 ½ Oreo biscuits (also contains fat)

  • If you regularly drink non-diet cola drinks, ice tea, coridals, you have 2.5x more chance of being overweight. Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases your risk for type 2 diabetes by 26%3
  • Higher fibre products are optimal for controlling blood sugars, and you should aim for an estimated intake of 25-38g fibre per day by choosing whole grain carbohydrate, legumes and fresh vegetables and some fruit4.
  • Exercise will increase your insulin sensitivity for up to 24 hours, depending on the intensity and type of exercise. This is independent of diet. Therefore, it is recommended to do 150min/week of moderate intensity exercise (60-70% maximal), with no more than 2 days between sessions5.


1. International federation for Diabetes, http://www.idf.org
2. Chan JM, Rimm EB, Colditz GA, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Obesity, fat distribution and weight gain as risk factors for clinical diabetes in men, Diabetes Care, 1994, Sept, 17 (9): 961-9
3. Malik VS, Popkin BM, Bray GA, Despres JP, Willet WC, Hu FB, Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis, Diabetes Care, 2010, Nov, 33(11):2477-83
4. Voster HV, “Make starchy foods part of most meals”:a food based dietary guideline for South Africa, South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2013 (Supplement)
5. Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise, American College of Sports Medicine, Position Stand 2008.