shipley bingley diabetes support group

Bingley & Shipley Diabetes Support Group

Bingley & Shipley Diabetes Support Group

Diabetes dates 2018 A4

2018 meetings
Mondays 11.00 am to 1.00 pm
8th January
5th February
5th March
9th April
14th May
4th June
2nd July
6th August
3rd September
1st October
5th November
3rd December

Cafe area
Canalside Health Centre
2 Kingsway
BD16 4RP

New members welcome

For more information: Phone: 01274 561329

10 tips for a healthy diet

South Asian cooking varies from country to country. As with all cooking, it can be made healthier without sacrificing taste.

The term ‘south Asian’ refers here to anyone of Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani or Sri Lankan origin. Each of these communities has its own unique history and culture, but they all share some common health issues

Making a few changes to your ingredients or ways of cooking, such as reducing the amount of fat, salt and sugar you use, can make a big difference. This can help protect you against putting on weight and reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Dr Justin Zaman, chair of the cardiovascular working group at the South Asian Health Foundation and cardiologist at University College London Hospitals, points out that how you prepare food can be as important as what you eat. “Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis, for example, tend to eat lots of fish, and some Hindus are vegetarian,” he says. “These are healthy options, but often the fish or vegetables are fried in ghee, which makes them higher in fat. As a general rule, try to avoid using too much ghee in cooking and replace this with healthier cooking oils.”

Use rapeseed oil or olive oil as alternatives to ghee in cooking.

Here are Dr Zaman’s top tips on eating a healthier diet:

Eat less sugary food

Cut down on sweets, cakes, syrupy desserts and sweet drinks. For desserts or snacks try yoghurt, fruit or nuts, and try drinking fruit juice, water or unsweetened tea.

Eat less processed food

This includes foods such as sausages, cakes, biscuits, burgers and fast food. These can be high in fat and salt.

Eat less salt

Too much salt can cause raised blood pressure, which has no symptoms but can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Raised blood pressure isn’t more common among people from south Asian communities, but it is a serious health issue for everyone why not try here. Avoid adding salt to food when you’re cooking and try not to add it to food at the table. If you need to season food, use pepper and other spices.

Salt is often added to ready-made and processed foods, including bread, cereals and soup. Reading food labels (usually on the back of the packaging) can help you control how much salt you eat. Look at the figure for salt per 100g.

  • A high salt content is more than 1.5g salt (or 0.6g sodium) per 100g.
  • A low salt content is 0.3g salt (or 0.1g sodium) or less per 100g.

Eat less saturated fat

Saturated fat is found in butter, ghee, full-fat milk, fatty and processed meat such as kebabs or sausages, coconut and palm oil, biscuits, pastries and cakes. Too much saturated fat can:

  • raise the level of cholesterol in the body, which is a risk factor for heart disease
  • lead to weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes and other health problems

Reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by trimming the fat off meat, taking the skin off chicken, using skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and low-fat yoghurt, and avoiding foods that you know are high in fat. You can also read food labels to see whether a food is high or low in saturated fat.

High levels are more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g. Low levels are less than 1.5g of saturated fat per 100g.

Eat small amounts of unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat. Unsaturated fat is found in oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil, rapeseed oil, vegetable oils, and spreads made from these oils.

Eat less deep-fried food

Foods that have been deep-fried in oil or ghee, such as samosas, are high in saturated fat. Try steaming, baking, boiling or grilling food instead.

Eat more fruit and vegetables

Aim for five portions a day. It doesn’t matter whether they are fresh, frozen, tinned (in water or their natural juice), juiced or dried. Read more about how to get your 5 A DAY.

Eat more starchy food

Starchy foods such as rice, bread, pasta, potatoes and yams should make up the main portion of a meal. Wholegrain (brown) versions are healthier than white versions. Use wholegrain or wholemeal flour when you’re cooking.

Eat more beans and pulses

Beans and pulses, including lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans, are low in fat and high in fibre. Avoid frying pulses. To learn about eating pulses as part of a balanced vegetarian diet, readVegetarian health.

Eat more oily fish

Oily fish include mackerel, pilchards, salmon and sardines.

Make healthy swaps

When you’re cooking or snacking, go for a healthy option. Swap ice cream for yoghurt, swap sweets for fruit, or have nuts instead of chocolate.

‘Diabetes and me’


Surjeet Soin, 65, found out he had diabetes 14 years ago. He started taking medication and took up walking to keep fit. He went to Mount Everest base camp in 2005.

Surjeet, an accountant from Luton, was 50 when he found out he had type 2 diabetes. He had typical symptoms. “I was overweight. I weighed over 12 stone (76kg) and I’m 5ft 6in (1.67m) tall. I was getting up in the night to pass water, I’d lost some weight and I had blurred vision,” he says.

Surjeet’s wife, Devinder, was concerned and urged him to see his GP, who diagnosed diabetes with a blood test. “I suspected it was diabetes, so wasn’t shocked when the doctor told me,” says Surjeet. “I just thought, ‘I need to get on with my life now’.”

His younger brother, who lives in India, has diabetes and Surjeet thinks his grandfather did too. “Neither of my parents had it, but it’s in the family.”

Learning about diabetes
The GP prescribed medication (Glucozide) to control Surjeet’s diabetes, but he has never had to take insulin. “I’m living with a progressive condition and one day I might have to start taking insulin,” says Surjeet. “I’ll deal with that when it happens lisinopril 20 mg tablet.” The medication has improved his vision and he no longer needs to wear glasses for driving.

Over the next couple of years, Surjeet read books about diabetes and began to make small changes to his lifestyle, such as cutting out sweets and getting more exercise. “I definitely noticed an improvement in my health,” says Surjeet, who now weighs a healthy 10 stone (63.5kg). “Once I changed my lifestyle I felt more active. Generally, I felt pretty good. I stopped feeling lethargic. There was a lot of go in me!”

Cutting down on gulab jamun
Surjeet says it has taken willpower to make the changes he felt were important. “I used to eat a lot of Indian sweets. Devinder makes lovely gulab jamun, but I don’t have them now,” he says. “And I used to overeat, whereas now I eat less. I’ll have just one chapatti with the evening meal, and afterwards I’ll have plain yoghurt. I cut down on all my desserts. I’ll have custard or ice cream just once a month or so.”

Surjeet also gave up alcohol, and hasn’t had a drink for nearly 14 years. Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t have alcohol, but alcohol can cause problems. The advice about drinking differs depending on a person’s condition and medication. Surjeet decided to give up altogether. “I used to go to the pub with friends, or to weekend parties at people’s houses. At first giving up was difficult and friends would tease me about it, but I don’t miss alcohol at all now. I drink water when I’m socialising.”

Being more active
Knowing he should keep active to control his weight, Surjeet briefly considered joining a gym, but settled on a cheaper and more interesting option. “I knew if I did six miles on a treadmill I’d still be in the same spot, but if I walked for six miles outside I’d see things and be in the fresh air,” he says. “And a gym would cost me money. So I started walking.”

He enjoys trekking in the countryside and now walks two or three times a week with friends or Devinder, including a walk of 12 miles or so at the weekends. “I’ve done the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales three times, and trekked in Ecuador,” says Surjeet. When he was 62 he trekked to Mount Everest base camp. “That was tough. It took 12 days, but it was good. I was the oldest man on the expedition.”

Helping others
Surjeet also keeps active at home by gardening, and he goes for regular health checks every six months, with retinopathy screening (an eye check) every year. He is keen to educate others about living with diabetes and is chairperson of his local Diabetes UK group. “We meet once a month and have speakers on all aspects of diabetes. People with diabetes come along just to talk and share information,” explains Surjeet.

“There’s plenty to learn, not just about managing diabetes, but also about your eyes, your feet and your weight. It’s important to help people learn more, because that’s how they work out how to manage their condition. The more they know the better they can look after themselves.”

Find out more about living with diabetes.