Healthy foods breaking the bank: Varied diets preventing type 2 diabetes
Date: AUG 2016
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. This age old proverb may not necessarily be the solution to all health concerns, but it is clear that eating a well-balanced diet is a key element to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A study conducted by the universities of Cambridge and California have found that people who maintain a healthy well rounded diet containing all five food groups cut their risk of developing diabetes by 30%.1
The diabetes we’re referring to here is type 2 diabetes, which affects more than 2.7 million people in the UK alone. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with those who are obese and tends to be diagnosed in older people, as well as in those who smoke. Obesity is a problem that is only worsening with time, with 20% of the UK’s population now being classed as obese.2 In a survey conducted last year, talkheath approached the subject of weight to find out what our members thought. Out of those who responded, 68% deemed themselves as being overweight, with 56% answering that being overweight has had a negative impact for them.3 When asked whether they had any concerns as a result of being overweight, the majority answered that they had many health concerns, either as a result of excess weight or health problems that contributed to it being more difficult to lose weight.
Although there is no known cure for type 1 diabetes, type 2 can be prevented by eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising regularly, losing weight if you're overweight, stopping smoking if you smoke and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink. And although these may seem to be simple solutions, they can in fact be difficult for some families to achieve.
The study looked at over 25,000 adults who provided detailed information about their eating habits, and it concluded that those who had more variation in the foods that they ate had a 30% less chance of developing type 2 diabetes over a period of 10 years. With healthy eating being so important to the future health of the UK, it does not bode well that diets with more variety are on average more expensive than the diets that are less varied.
Those from less affluent households are being pushed to choose the more basic, less nutritious options as they are more affordable. The price gap between more and less healthy foods is growing in the UK and higher food costs may prevent people from eating a healthier diet in the future.
Research has shown that varied diets containing all five food groups were over 18% more costly than diets containing fewer food groups (mainly 3 or less), with diets with more variety within each food group were more costly again. So obesity and type 2 diabetes is on the rise, and with healthy varied diets being a viable solution, there is clearly much that needs to be done at government level to make variation in diet accessible to everyone.
If you would like to speak to other members of our community about any concerns or problems you have regarding weight management and diet, please visit our talkweight forums.
1. University of Cambridge, Varied diet can prevent diabetes, http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/discussion/opinion-a-varied-diet-can-prevent-diabetes-but-can-you-afford-it, accessed July 2016.
2. University of Birmingham, Obesity in the UK, http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/mds/centres/obesity/obesity-uk/index.aspx, accessed July 2016.
3. talkhealth, talkhealth weight survey, http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/freebies/results_weight_management_15.php, accessed July 2016.
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Last revised: 1 August 2016
Next review: 1 August 2019