Big Food Knows Better
Diabetes at a Tipping Point
“Big Food” has the solution to address obesity and diabetes, but the industry prefers the status quo. In a free market economy, food executive priorities are driven by profit, not health. Fattening up their bottom line, however, comes at the expense of fattening consumers. Diabetes is at a tipping point and if we don’t stop the madness, the health care system will collapse under the weight of the diseases associated with these epidemics.
In its report “Canada at the Tipping Point, Charting a New Path” the Canadian Diabetes Association states that the rate of diabetes in Canada has almost doubled over the past decade and unless action is taken now, 1 in 3 Canadians will be living with diabetes or prediabetes by the end of this decade. The CDA estimates the cost of diabetes will rise to $16 billion by 2020, threatening not only the sustainability of the healthcare system but the future economic prosperity of Canada.
Join the Slow Carb Revolution
The problem and solution are one and the same. The consumption of high glycemic (high GI) carbs is the root cause of the interlinked epidemics of obesity, diabetes and the energy deficit. Consumers need to substitute “slow release” (low GI) foods, for high glycemic foods whenever possible, as stated in the CDA’s 2014 Clinical Practice Guidelines.
Many food products contain rapidly digested carbs (starches and sugars) that trigger the “spike, crash and crave” cycle. While this survival mechanism helped our ancestors store fat during times of abundance to survive the lean times, it is now compromising our health and driving diabesity. Our ancestors didn’t consume refined carbs, nor did they hunt in stores. According to the CDA, 9 of 10 individuals diagnosed with diabetes are type 2, and half of those diagnosed could be prevented or delayed with healthier eating and increased physical activity.
Low glycemic foods help to keep blood sugar and insulin levels in check, which is key to managing weight, preventing disease and sustaining energy. Developing foods that are clinically validated low glycemic is the only proven strategy to reverse these epidemics. As Big Food does not develop foods to be low glycemic, it is not in their interest to educate the public to the benefits of low glycemic nutrition.
To break this cycle, the Canadian Diabetes Association teamed up with Health Canada to develop a low glycemic public education and food symbol program. To help raise the bar in the food industry, I am working with health professionals to promote a consumer shift to low glycemic nutrition and working with food scientists to develop low glycemic food alternatives to help move society to a healthier place.