13 Nov 2017 --- World Diabetes Day falls tomorrow on November 14, and this year’s edition spotlights women with the disease and their “right to a healthy future.” Companies and organizations including Nestlé and the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) are marking the day by contributing to the fight against obesity and standing with women with diabetes as they try to manage the condition effectively.
Preventative strategy against obesity
Nestlé is focusing on tackling obesity. The condition has a status as a serious global health challenge and is known to increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
“The United Nations believes the food industry has a vital role to play in helping enable healthier lives,” Nestlé’s press release states. “At Nestlé we believe this too. Our purpose is enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future.”
The company asserts that by reducing sugar, sodium and saturated fat in its foods and beverages through gradual, science-based changes, it can improve health outcomes and decrease the risk of non-communicable diseases like diabetes. At the same time, it adds that it is increasing the ingredients and nutrients that are key to a healthy diet – such as protein, fruit, whole grain, vitamins and minerals – in its products.
Between 2014 and 2016, Nestlé points out that it has reduced added sugars by 8 percent on average across 1,900 products worldwide. This amounts to 39,000 tons of sugar and is equivalent to a string of sugar cubes circling the globe three times, the company reports.
Giving a specific example, the company points to Nestlé Breakfast Cereals, which it says has reduced sugar by up to 30 percent to provide people with healthier choices.
“We will continue to reduce sugar in our foods and beverages,” the organization states. “By 2020, we are committed to reducing added sugars by 5 percent to help people meet WHO global recommendations.”
In addition to improving the nutritional profile of its products, Nestlé asserts that it is working with partners to help parents, caregivers and teachers foster “healthy behavior.”
Nestlé states that it does this by establishing numerous nutrition education programs, including introducing portion guidance and providing simple tips and recipes.
ISA focuses on “normal life” with diabetes
Meanwhile, the ISA states that it proudly supports World Diabetes Day (WDD) for a sixth consecutive year with an online campaign themed around a very personal slogan: “Do it for you.” The organization says it recognizes the importance of joining forces with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in the effort to raise awareness about the need to prioritize diabetes management, especially in times when diabetes rates are on the rise globally.
With women being at the “heart” of World Diabetes Day 2017, the ISA also states that the aim of its online activity program is to help encourage women to make their diabetes management one of their main priorities among other essential tasks in their lives.
By developing online materials with the scientific support of the European Specialist Dietetic Network for Diabetes (ESDN) for Diabetes of the European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians (EFAD), the ISA is focusing on urging women to take action for themselves and for a healthier future with the idea that the better women get their diabetes under control, the better they’ll be able to enjoy a healthy life.
“We have good news to share,” emphasizes Dr. Aimilia Papakonstantinou, lecturer on nutrition and metabolism at the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece, and leader of the EFAD’s ESDN for Diabetes. “Diabetes is a chronic disease but it can be easily managed and optimal glycemic control can be achieved.”
“What’s needed is a better planning of everyday activities that can have an impact on diabetes management including diet and lifestyle habits as well as glucose monitoring,” states Dr. Papakonstantinou. “Women with diabetes all over the world can stay reassured that they can have a normal life and do everything with diabetes. And in this effort, dietitians across the world can be key allies in helping people with diabetes have a better glucose control for a healthy future.”
The ISA emphasizes its role in healthier diets and lifestyles by saying that low-calorie sweeteners can have a helpful role and be part of the diet of people with diabetes because low-calorie sweetened foods and drinks provide a greater variety of sweet-tasting options with fewer or no calories. They also help people with diabetes to manage their carbohydrate and overall daily calorie intake, the ISA adds