FOR Diabetes Awareness Month in November, Diabetes Canada is highlighting the progress that has been made in reducing sugar consumption in Canada. According to Statistics Canada data, sugar consumption in the nation fell by 2.5M kg between 2015 and 2016.
“Diabetes Canada has been raising the alarm about the direct connection between the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and type 2 diabetes risk,” says Dr. Jan Hux, chief science officer for Diabetes Canada. “We also know that excessive sugar consumption is linked to weight gain and being overweight, which are also risk factors. One of our goals is to see 10,000,000 kilograms of sugar removed from Canadians’ diets between 2016 and 2020—and we’re pleased to see progress being made.“
While this small reduction is a positive step forward, there is still much more work to be done. For Diabetes Canada that involves calling for a levy on sugar sweetened beverages to decrease their consumption, improving labeling on food products so consumers can understand the amount of sugar a product contains and advocating for improved access to drinking water. They are also funding research about sugar and diabetes, including a study from the University of Toronto’s Dr. John Sievenpiper, which investigates the relationship between food sources of fructose-containing sugars and diabetes to inform dietary guidelines.
“Diabetes is a silent epidemic in Canada with 11 million people living with diabetes or prediabetes,” says Rick Blickstead, President and CEO at Diabetes Canada. “There are many reasons for this growth. By raising awareness about the potential risks of over-consumption of sugary drinks along with other risk factors, we want to reverse the trend of type 2 diabetes cases. These new numbers point to the fact that we’re heading in the right direction.”
While sugar is one focus during Diabetes Awareness Month, other activities across Canada include:
Know your Risk: This partnership with Sun Life Financial encourages Canadians to take the CANRISK test at diabetestest.ca and learn their risk for developing type 2 diabetes. For each test completed, Sun Life will donate $3 to the cause.
Diabetes Educator Day: Every day, diabetes educators provide hands-on support to people with diabetes. On November 1, Diabetes Educator Day, we celebrate them. People with diabetes are encouraged to share their story about how a diabetes educator helped them on Diabetes Canada’s Facebook page.
Go Blue for World Diabetes Day: On World Diabetes Day, November 14 (the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting), monuments across Canada will be lit blue in recognition of Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes Canada encourages everyone to dress in blue to mark the occasion, show their support and share their photos on social media.