To Prevent Diabetes, We Need To Learn What 2000 Calories A Day Really Looks Like

Type 2 diabetes is a major problem -- and major killer -- in today's Western cultures. Linked to obesity, it can do a number of things to your body like increase your risk of kidney failure, stroke, heart attacks and blindness. Genetics plays a role -- I, for example, am more likely to develop the disease as both of my parents are type 2 diabetics, but it is more often than not a preventable disease. Obesity is the single biggest preventable factor. The only way our trends toward obesity and diabetes will be slowed is if we change the way we live our lives. It is all well and good to try to keep sugary drinks out of the hands of children but if we don't change the style of how they live, it won't matter much. Walking to school, cycling to work, throwing together a game of football on the local field or a game of basketball in the park needs to be our norm. We need to be more active but we also need to stop eating constantly. It isn't just what we eat but the fact that we more or less graze all day long. Ann Robinson wrote in The Guardian that schools need to teach children more about what 2000 calories a day looks and feels like. Of a potential daily menu she says,  "It means a breakfast of toast or cereal, a sandwich and zero calorie drink (like water) at lunch and a supper of protein, veg and a portion of carbohydrate like some boiled potatoes. Some fruit and a yoghurt, and you’re basically done for the day." Obviously there aren't specifics in this menu but you get the general idea. 2000 calories She says that although the corporate and government initiatives are great, they only go so far. We need to be responsible for ourselves and we need to know how to eat properly. You can stop selling sugary drinks in school but if you don't teach a child how to replace that beverage, the efforts are lost. She writes: "The messages need to be clear and unambiguous. Public health policies and political intervention are all very well. But individuals need to know how to say no to the constant offers of food and sugary drinks that surround us. The temptations will always be there. We need the tools to resist." Do you have the tools to resist?

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