New diabetes leaflet to help read and understand food labels

Food Label bookletTo facilitate healthy eating for all the family and potentially reduce the burden of obesity and related conditions in Ireland, Diabetes Ireland has today launched a leaflet to help people with diabetes to read and understand the ‘traffic light’ food labelling format we are beginning to see on a lot of pre-packaged supermarket items.
Traffic light food labelling is colour coding that indicates at a glance if the food has high, medium or low amounts of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt. Essentially;
• red means high
• amber means medium
• green means low

In short, the more green lights, the healthier the choice. However, for people with diabetes this implies if they select foods with a green sugar label, the effect on the blood glucose is permissible. However, this is not the case as people with diabetes must also note the total amount of carbohydrate contained in each product as this is what directly affects blood glucose levels.
Sinead Hanley, Senior Dietitian, Diabetes Ireland said “there is confusion between carbohydrates and sugars with most people only considering sugars to be important. However, both sugars (on the traffic light content label) and the amount of total carbohydrate (on the full package content label) need to be considered by people with diabetes when making food choices.
At first glance, this is not easy to understand, but we hope this leaflet will help people to more easily determine the total carbohydrate content of food per 100 gram and make the right decisions”.
The leaflet outlines the importance of considering portion amounts rather than just focusing on selecting foods based on selecting a green code for sugar content. The leaflet draws attention to the traffic light system of % of daily allowance. The leaflet helps people to look at the overall traffic lights and the contribution of each packaged food to a healthy balanced diet.
Currently, there are an estimated 225,000 people with diabetes in Ireland which is expected to rise to 320,000 by 2030. With limited access to dietetics services, many Irish people with diabetes do not understand the importance of understanding carbohydrates for their long term diabetes management or receive guidance on how to shop effectively so causing confusion as to what foods are suitable for a healthy diet.
Shopping for a balanced diet will be made easier and all the family will have access to healthier food options added Sinead.
Hardcopies are available from Diabetes Ireland or you can call 01 842 8118

Editors Notes
For more information and interviews, contact Gary Brady on 01 8428118.
Diabetes Ireland is the national charity dedicated to providing support, education and motivation to all people affected by diabetes. We also raises public awareness of diabetes and its symptoms and funds Irish-based research into diabetes.

This initiative is being launched as part of Diabetes Ireland’s World Diabetes Day (14 November) celebrations. For more information about other World Diabetes Week events or about diabetes, contact Diabetes Ireland on 1850 909 909 or visit

Text DIABETES to 50300 to donate €2. 100% of text cost goes to Diabetes Ireland across most network providers. Some providers apply VAT which means that a minimum of €1.63 will go to Diabetes Ire-land. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 0766805278.

Diabetes in Ireland
The International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas (2013) estimate there are now 207,490 people with diabetes in Ireland in the 20 – 79 years age group (prevalence of 6.5% in the population) which is in line with previous estimates which said that by 2030 there will be 278,850 people with the condition (preva-lence of 7.5% in the same population) in The Policy Puzzle, Is Europe Making Progress? (2012) esti-mates.

It is also estimated there are 2,750 people under 20 years of age living with Type 1 diabetes and in the over 80 age group, it is estimated that there are over 15,600 people with Type 2 diabetes.

Thus, the total number of people living with diabetes in Ireland now is estimated to be 225,840.

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Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study showed during the overall follow-up of 10 years (from the initial randomi-zation), type 2 diabetes incidence in the original lifestyle intervention group was reduced by 34% compared with the con-trol group.

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Prevent 80% of new cases by addressing all the risk factors.
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Prevent or delay 70% of new cases by adopting healthier lifestyle – International Diabetes Federation 2014.