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Diabetes and the Filipino diet

DIABETES is a chronic disease manifested through elevated blood sugar levels. A person with diabetes does not have a normal production of insulin, which is a protein hormone that helps sugar leave the blood and enter the cells of the body.

Here are some disturbing facts about diabetes in the Philippines:

• Diabetes was the ninth leading cause of death from 1999 to 2002 in the Philippines. As of 2005, diabetes affected one in every 25 Filipinos.

• Of every 100 deaths, five died of diabetes in 2005, from just two in 1999 says a report of the National Epidemiology Center of the Department of Health (DoH). The number of deaths due to diabetes grew the fastest among all diseases between 1999 and 2005 said the report -- from 9,749 reported diabetes cases in 1999, the number grew by 11.2% to 18,441 cases in 2005.

• As of 2012, diabetes affects the lives of 9.7% of the adult population in the Philippines, said Dr. Danilo F. Baldemor, diabetologist and immediate past president of the Philippine Association of Diabetes Educators (PADE), Inc., during a press conference last month.

“This number tends to double if we add the 12.5% of Filipinos who are at-risk of diabetes with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Combined, one out of every five Filipino adults or approximately 11 million has either prediabetes or diabetes,” Mr. Baldemor explained.

The doctor said the problem of diabetes could be attributed to the rising weight challenge of Filipinos.

“Obesity is one of the risk factors for diabetes. In 2008, obesity has ballooned to 25% in 2008 from 1987 statistics of only 13.5%,” he said.

Mr. Baldemor said the reason Filipinos are becoming heavier could be linked to changing dietary habits as revealed in the 2008 Food Consumption Survey done by the Food & Nutrition Research Institute.

The survey showed that 40% of Filipino households are taking their meals and snacks outside of home, and approximately 30% of the caloric intake in a day was derived from animal sources in 2008 as compared to 20% in 1978.

“Rice, sugar and cooking oil are the top three food items commonly consumed by Filipinos. And there was a significant increase in the intake of rice,” he said.

Recognizing the importance of nutrition in the total diabetes management, PADE conducted a study among Filipinos with diabetes about their typical breakfast.

The study revealed that compared to the expert macronutrient guidelines of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), the typical Filipino breakfast is 30% protein, more than the 20% limit in the ADA and EASD guidelines.

Mr. Baldemor said the excess protein makes Filipinos more prone to diabetes. And for those who already have diabetes, the excess protein may lead to complications like end-stage renal disease and other kidney problems. He explained that kidney damage makes it more difficult for individuals to process sugar, thus complicating the case of most diabetics.

Mr. Baldemor said there is a need for complete diabetes management that integrates medication, a healthy diet, physical activity and exercise, and medical nutrition therapy.

In the Philippines, diabetes experts composed of health care professionals from seven medical societies and institutions developed the Philippine Diabetes Nutrition Algorithm (PhilDNA). PhilDNA provides recommendations on diabetes-specific nutrition to support the goals of weight loss, lowering blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol for prevention of complications and longevity.

Included in the PhilDNA recommendation is the use of diabetes-specific formula like Glucerna Triple Care, which is a specialized drink manufactured by global health care company Abbott.

Abbott Nutrition International (Philippines) medical director Jose Rodolfo V. Dimaano, Jr. said Glucerna Triple Care has been clinically shown to help manage weight and reduce cardiovascular risk factors in conjunction with an overall diabetes management plan, including diet and exercise.

He said the product provides an advanced, slowly digested carbohydrate system to manage blood sugar response. It also has a unique heart-friendly lipid blend rich in Omega-3 fatty acids to support heart health, and a combination of key ingredients to help reduce weight and the patient’s waistline.

He added that Glucerna Triple Care has 32 vitamins and minerals and is 225 calories per serving. It is available in vanilla and chocolate flavors.

source: Business World

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