Carbs & Cals World Foods: Hope for BAME diabetic communities

The first carb awareness guide targeted specifically at Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities has been created. The team behind the new book say it is expected to improve health outcomes for diabetic people within the community. It uses the visual method pioneered by Carbs & Cals, which has revolutionised carb counting for people with diabetes over the last 10 years.

Launched at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference in March in Liverpool, the book brings much-needed guidance to individuals from African, Arabic, Caribbean and South Asian communities. These people are 4 to 6 times more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those from white backgrounds and can develop the condition from a much earlier age. The resource is also a welcomed tool for healthcare professionals, who have previously had very limited information about the diets of people from these communities.

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a number of health problems, affecting almost every organ in the body. It can potentially lead to heart disease, stroke and much more. In the UK, there are over half a million people from BAME communities living with diabetes, who have an increased risk of developing these complications. With an estimated 10% of the entire national healthcare budget being spent on diabetes, the epidemic is a major challenge for the UK government and the NHS.

The good news is that with carefully controlled blood glucose levels, the risks can be greatly reduced. The brand-new Carbs & Cals WORLD FOODS book helps people from BAME communities manage their diet and minimise the risk of serious health complications.

“Lifestyle and dietary management is fundamental to the treatment of diabetes,” co-author and Diabetes Specialist Dietitian Salma Mehar says. “Typical diets of BAME communities often contain up to 60% carbohydrate. Helping them understand how carbs impact their blood glucose, and how to alter portion sizes and food choices, is key to taking control of their diet and diabetes.”

The book’s detailed introduction covers a range of topics that are vital for understanding and managing diabetes, including explanations of blood glucose and diabetes, the amount and type of carbs (and other nutrients) to consume, glycaemic index, culturally relevant food swap ideas and a guide to weight loss. And that’s just for starters! The bulk of the book hosts 750 photos of food and drinks regularly consumed by African, Arabic, Caribbean and South Asian communities.

Co-author Dr Joan St John, a GP with a special interest in diabetes, explains, “Ultimately, the goal is to empower people with diabetes from BAME communities to manage their condition and realise that, with the right information, their blood glucose levels can be greatly improved through diet.”

TNT Health

Photo Credit: Carbs and Cals World Foods

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