Diabetes is a common and serious chronic illness and when poorly controlled, leads to multiple complications, such as blindness, nerve damage, kidney failure, heart disease and limb amputation.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 346,000,000 people worldwide have diabetes, and there are 400,000 diabetics who are aged above 40 in Singapore in 2013.

Furthermore, diabetes is the 10th leading cause of death accounting for 1.7 per cent of total deaths in 2011 in Singapore. Some studies show that about half of patients already have diabetes-related complications at the time of diagnosis.


■ Tips for reducing the risk of diabetes (type 2 diabetes):

・There is no cure for diabetes because it is a lifelong disease.

However, the risk of diabetes is preventable and can be controlled through various means such as a healthy diet and regular exercise

・Follow a proper diet

Besides insulin and medicine, eating healthily helps to control blood glucose levels and weight.

・Maintain a healthy weight

If overweight, losing a few kilos can reduce the risk of diabetes.

・Get regular exercise

Exercise helps to control weight and also keeps the heart healthy.


Tips for a healthy diet

Eating right is a fundamental key to prevent or control diabetes, but no special foods or complicated diets are necessary.

A healthy diet for diabetes t is high in nutrients, low in fat, and moderate in calories.

It also applies for anyone, and you don’t have to have special diabetic meals.

However, you need to pay more attention to some of your food choices. Here are some tips for a healthy diet.

1. Don't forget your grains

Unlike refined grain foods like white rice and white bread, whole grains are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and protective plant chemicals called phytochemicals.

2. Pick food rich in proteins

Select protein-rich foods which are lower in fat and cholesterol such as lean meat, fish, yogurt, legumes and nuts.

3. Eat your fruit and veggies (including mushrooms and seaweed)

Fruit and vegetables are naturally low in fat and rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre.

4. Cut the oil, fat, salt and sugar

Choose healthier foods which are lower in salt, added sugar and fat. Limit alcohol intake.

5. Limit alcohol and snack intake.

Alcohol and snack may cause dysfunctional healthy eating behavior.

6. Eat slowly, chew well and stop when full.

Eating slower can actually help you eat less and lose weight. Devote your full attention to the meal.

If you're distracted by other activities like watching TV, you may not notice how fast or how much you are eating.

7. Eat regular meals

Have three meals and one or two snacks each day, and don’t skip breakfast.


Promotion of healthier food choices at hawker centres

Hawker centres located all over the island are a unique aspect of Singaporean culture.

Not only locals but also visitors from outside of Singapore enjoy eating local foods.

For hawkers and local food lovers who concern a healthy diet or try to prevent diabetes, please visit the websites for a healthy diet at hawker centers;



Dr Daphne Gardner Su-Lyn, at the Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital (SGH) says, “learning to eat regular meals, controlling the amount you eat and making healthy food choices can help you manage your diabetes better and help prevent other health complications."

Sources from Ministry of Health, Singapore General Hospital, SingHealth, HPB SingHealth Polyclinics and MSD K.K.

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