vegetables in a wooden crate
19 July 2019
News Category: 
Patient and health stories

A Royal Melbourne Hospital dietitian has stressed that while healthy eating plays an important role in reducing risk of type 2 diabetes, it is just one of many factors involved.

Emma Wagstaff, endocrinology dietitian, said that while a less healthy diet is an underlying risk factor for type 2 diabetes, people living with the condition often feel judged about their food choices.

‘We see a lot of people who come in who have had a healthy diet and been physically active during their life and still develop type 2 diabetes.’ She said.

‘Type 2 diabetes is caused by a range of factors. While healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active are very important in reducing risk, people can also develop diabetes through genetic predisposition and from their ethnic background.’

Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, with type 2 diabetes accounting for 85% of all cases.

Those most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, Maori, Asian, Middle Eastern, North African or Southern European people aged 35 or older.

Ms Wagstaff said that if people are concerned about their diet and risk of diabetes, it is important to see an accredited practicing dietitian.

‘Unfortunately there is no “magic pill” or “one size fits all” approach for people at risk of diabetes, so it is important to see a dietitian who can tailor a plan that works for them.’

‘Our general advice for people living with diabetes or those at risk of diabetes is no different to what we would give to people without diabetes – eat foods containing fibre, such as non-starchy vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals and limit processed foods.’

‘These foods take longer to break down in the body, keeping you fuller for longer and assist in stabilising blood glucose levels.’

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