14th November, 2016, marks World Diabetes Day.  It is a global campaign led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) with activities taking place around the world. Diabetes is affecting more and more young people each year and it is important that we support and encourage all children to eat a healthy and balanced diet in order to help prevent the development of diabetes.

According to Diabetes UK, there are an estimated 31,500 children and young people with diabetes, under the age of 19, in the UK. Type 1 diabetes is where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin. Type 1 diabetes is the most common type in children and young people as it is often diagnosed early on. However, the number of younger people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes is increasing partly due to the rapid increase of obesity.

Some of the common symptoms that occur for young people with type 1 diabetes include the production of excessive urine, excessive tiredness, weight loss, feeling very thirsty and hyperglycaemia (too much glucose in the bloodstream).

Diabetes and breakfast

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is key for children managing type 1 diabetes.

When planning breakfast for children and young people with diabetes, it is important to consider a few factors.

·       Choose foods with a low GI.  This is important because choosing slowly absorbed carbohydrates (low GI), instead of quickly absorbed carbohydrates, can help even out blood glucose levels when you have diabetes.

·       Porridge oats are a great breakfast option (without any added ingredients such as sugar, honey, golden syrup and cocoa powder). Try adding chopped fruit for sweetness.

·       Fruit and vegetables are a great breakfast option too. This can be enjoyed with low fat plain yoghurt.

·       Whole grain cereals such as shredded wheat or wheat biscuits.

·       Milk and other dairy products have a low GI because they are high in protein and contain fat.

Did you know:

1.     Not all low GI foods are healthy. For example, chocolate (because of its high fat content). It is important not to focus exclusively on GI but to think about the balance of meals if you have diabetes, which should be low in fat, salt and sugar and contain plenty of fruit and vegetables. 

2.     People with diabetes are often told not to eat fruits and vegetables because they contain a high amount of natural sugars and may raise blood glucose levels. In fact, most fruits have a low to medium glycaemic index, so they do not lead to a sharp rise in your blood glucose levels compared to other carbohydrate containing foods.

For more information on diabetes, click here for the website of Diabetes UK