It’s Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease, diagnosed in approximately 100,000 Aussies each year. 

Diabetes is essentially a condition where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or insulin doesn’t work effectively in the body.

To mark National Diabetes Week we spoke with accredited practicing dietitian Zoe Wilson about her tips on staying healthy.

Eat and Exercise

Zoe believes the most important thing is to be physically active. “If youre active every day its going to help to keep those blood glucose levels down down,” she explained.

Meanwhile, exercising regularly helps keep your weight down, too. “If you can manage your weight, and bring it down if you need to, thats going to help to reduce your risk greatly.”

Eat Low

To improve your health, Zoe recommends eating a low GI Diet, favouring foods that are digested and absorbed into your blood more slowly than others. “What that does is keep your blood glucose more stable throughout the day,” said Zoe.

Eat Slow

“My favourite thing that I get all my patients to do sounds really simple,” admitted Zoe. “Ask yourself if youre really hungry before you eat.”

According to Zoe, a lot of the eating we do, were not actually hungry for: we might be eating because its that time of the day, or we might feel obliged to finish everything on our plate even though were full.

“If you ask yourself, “Am I actually hungry?” and give yourself a little check in and listen to your stomach and listen to your body, you might find that youll actually eat a little bit less often and in smaller quantities,” Zoe said. 

Eat at 80 percent

Zoe never tells her patients there are good food and bad foods. She just tells them to take it easy. “If youre choosing a good, healthy balanced diet eighty percent of the time, and twenty percent of the time youre eating when youre not quite hungry or your eating a meal out, thats going to be fine,” she laughed.

“I had one guy in today who just really wanted a sausage sandwich. I was like, that’s okay!”