Keep an eye on weight gain in diabetes fight

I read the report on the fight against diabetes with concern (Mindset shifts needed in fight against diabetes, says Tharman as he opens ministerial conference; Nov 26).

Having a parent with the "deadly trio" of high blood glucose, high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, and another parent with high blood cholesterol, is enough to scare me to do all that I can to avoid ending up with these problems.

It is possible to stay slim without having to go on a low-carbohydrate diet or skip any meals while still being able to indulge in the occasional dessert, albeit not the overly sweet and rich ones.

Opt for resistant starch such as quinoa, oats, legumes, buckwheat and low glycaemic index rice, like basmati and brown rice.

Many studies have shown that resistant starch can have powerful health benefits, including improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels and reduced appetite.

We should get into the habit of weighing ourselves regularly.

Do not underestimate the impact of that 1kg weight gain. An innocuous 1kg uptick per year over 20 years will result in a whopping 20kg increase.

More should be done to educate people about the dangers of central obesity and what a healthy waist circumference is for an Asian male and female. The Asian body tends to store extra energy from the food they eat in the form of fat. While Asians may appear trim, they have a higher body fat count, which tends to collect in the belly, compared with Caucasians. So for the same body mass index, Asians with higher body fat are more likely to develop diabetes compared with Caucasians.

There is also a strong link between central obesity and diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.

I hope Singaporeans will be more health conscious and start making lifestyle modifications to improve their physical well-being. Otherwise we will be fighting a losing war against diabetes.

Liu I-Chun (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2018, with the headline 'Keep an eye on weight gain in diabetes fight'. Print Edition | Subscribe